Erstwhile is a boutique importer of mezcal and agave spirits based in Brooklyn, New York.
We are a mission-driven, social impact-driven company. Erstwhile’s mission: advocate for small, independent, family-owned producers who lack representation outside their local communities; and bring their craft to mezcal lovers and consumers in international markets for the first time.
Autonomy for and fair trade with producers are among our core values. We focus on Mezcal education, knowing that it empowers consumers and industry colleagues to be confident, informed decision makers.
We set ourselves apart from others in several ways.
First, the small producers we work with are independent family businesses. They are Erstwhile’s partners, not employees. Our partner producers have complete autonomy over what they make, exactly how they want to make it. We pay our producers fairly. No bargaining. No exclusivity contracts.
Unlike family-owned brands, we are not encumbered by loyalty to one family to the exclusion of others. When you support Erstwhile, you support not just one but all the independent producer families we partner with.
We seek out small producers who are interested in exporting out of Mexico, but do not have the means to do so on their own. We believe in empowering producers to own as much of their export process as possible, be it using their own bottling facility or hiring their own workers.
We step in if and only if they want our help. If they are missing certifications or licenses for export, for example, we front the legal and application fees to get them the right paperwork. If they don’t have access to a bottling facility, we would look and arrange for the most convenient option nearby.
We feel good about the fact that we help our partner producers clear these hurdles from the get-go, independent of their work with us in the future.