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Mezcal is an agave-based spirit from Mexico. There are two differences between mezcal and tequila. Tequila comes from a specific place and can only be made with one kind of agave, called blue weber. In contrast, mezcal can be made all over the country and makes use of over 30 different kinds of agave. Some of the most notable varieties include tobala, espadin and cupreata.

Rather like grape varieties, each has its own distinctive flavour profile. Mezcal can be made from a blend or a single variety. There’s another difference and that is one of scale. Tequila is dominated by big brands who use industrial techniques to make a consistent product, though there are more artisan brands. In contrast, mezcal is usually made on a much smaller scale using more rudimentary equipment and there aren’t really any famous brands with huge marketing budgets.

Mezcal regulation
Until the 1990s mezcal was very loosely regulated but a Denominaciones de Origen (DO) for mezcal was first established in the 1990s, overseen by the CRM (Consejo Regulador del Mezcal). As defined by the CRM, mezcal can be produced in ten states: Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Durango, Puebla, and Sinaloa

If you would like to learn more about Mezcal - from how it's made to how to drink it and a rundown of the different types of Mezcal - visit our our Ultimate Mezcal Guide, written by our in-house experts and authors.

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