MEZCALES TRADICIÓN CHAGOYA are part of a family business dedicated to the production and export of handmade and ancestral mezcal, with origins in the district of Tlacolula, Oaxaca, Mexico. This mezcalero lineage, founded in 1897, has established itself as a pillar of the mezcal of the region.

Art and craft of making mezcal

The production of mezcal occurs in artisanal or ancestral factories in different regions of the States classified under the Denomination of Origin, it is also produced in modern factories with machines rather than manual mills.

There are over 150 species of maguey exclusive of the Mexican territory. Of these species more than 14 can be used to make mezcal, being Oaxaca the state with the highest variety and concentration of agave plants. The elaboration of mezcal involves, cultivated, semi-cultivated and wild maguey plants, which require a specific kind of care. Regarding cultivated or farmed maguey, various conditions occur, from intensive farming to small scale planting. For the elaboration of mezcal Tradicio?n Chagoya, the main maguey used is Espadi?n, it takes ten years to mature and is one of the finest and noble of this species of plant, it’s characteristics have led it to become Oaxaca’s emblematic maguey.

Cutting

The maguey plant is mature when it reaches its reproductive stage and a stalk with florescences (flower clusters), known as “quiote”, begins to grow from its center. In this stage, the stem is cut, so that all the energy of the plant is concentrated on the production of sugars and thus obtain a more consistent alcohol content. The preferred season for cutting the maguey is the dry season (beginning in winter and ending in the spring), because the water from the rainy season lowers the quality of the sugar in the “heart” (center) of the maguey.

Cooking

To cook the maguey, an underground cone shape rock lined oven is used. The oven has an average capacity for seven tons and its rustic and artisanal nature provides a series of mineral and earthy tones to the mezcal. The cooking of the maguey, takes on average, one week, this allows the hydrolysis of the starches in the mature agave and their conversion to fructose to take place. The cooked maguey acquires an intense amber color, a soft consistency and an exquisite sweetness.

Ginding

Once it has been cooked the agave is then grinded. This stage of the process is carried out with a type of grinder known as “tahona”, which consists of a large cylindrical stone that turns on a small circular space paved with stone and is pulled by a horse. Grinding the “heart” (center of the maguey) reduces it to basic fibers.

Fermentation

The fibers remaining after the grinding process are then transferred to large wooden fermentation vats made of Montezuma Cypress wood. During the fermentation of the mezcals belonging to “Tradicio?n Chagoya”, no chemicals or other sugars that do not come directly from the maguey are added.

Distillation

For the elaboration of our mezcals, a double distillation in copper stills is implemented. During distillation, the vapor passes through a copper tube to the serpent like coil, where the steam cools and condenses. This distillate is then subjected to the second distillation, the mezcal master oversees what portions of the first distillation mix well to be processed together. This step allows the adjusting of the mezcal’s alcohol content, the mezcal masters truly demonstrate their wisdom accumulated for over five generations in “Tradicio?n Chagoya”.

Filtration

Once distilled, the mezcal is filtered before being bottled. This white toned crystalline mezcal is known as mezcal “joven”, meaning young. There is also the option of settling the mezcal in wooden white oak barrels to create rested or aged mezcal, or adding a maguey worm to young mezcal to produce mezcal with worm.

Aging

The aging process is based on the expansion and the contraction of the beverage. In hot climates the distillate expands and interacts with the white oak, meanwhile in cold climates the distillate sits. When the beverage is recently distilled, it is colorless and only has the flavor and smell of the agave. It is with the aging in charred white oak barrels that the distillate acquires its color, its complexity and the richness of its taste.

THE TRADITION

One Sunday back in the year 1880 in the town square of Tlacolula of Matamoros, Don Ro?mulo Chagoya’s wife found an orphan boy crying at the side of the church’s entrance. Without any knowledge of the boys origin, she decided to adopt him and baptize him with the name “Jorge Chagoya Sa?nchez”.

The First Generation

At the age of 17, Jorge had established a modest mezcal factory that used a completely rudimentary process. The success it obtained allowed him to establish three more factories in the region but his enterprising activities were cut short when the turbulence of the Revolution reached the region of Tlacolula. Jorge joined the line of rebels known as Los Cuerudos, leaving his factory to his son Ernesto, and nothing more was ever heard of him.

2nd Generation

In 1920, after Jorge’s disappearance, Ernesto resumed the production of his father’s mezcal. He relocated the “factory” outside Tlacolula and introduced the use of copper stills. Ernesto discovered a new technique to reproduce the maguey plant which allowed an increase in the cultivation of the species of Espadi?n agave; indispensable today for the production of Oaxacan mezcal. Ernesto also became the first bottler of mezcal in the State, creating his three brands: “Gotas de Maguey”, “Maguey Azul” and “Glorias de Oaxaca”.

3rd Generation

After 1940 it was Porfirio, one of Ernesto’s sons, who continued the Tradition with the promotion of his father’s brands and with intense press and radio campaigns with creative and memorable phrases. Until the 1970’s, Porfirio became the trader of various small “mezcal factories” he supplied with equipment, training, work capital and purchased their production.

4th Generation

During the 1980’s, Porfirio’s four sons: Porfirio Raymundo, Victor Manuel, Jorge Octavio and Ernesto Chagoya Me?ndez, became associated and directed their efforts to integrate the mezcal’s productive chain including: the cultivation of agave, the elaboration of the same alcoholic beverage, and bottling and marketing on a regional, national and international level. After a long period of success working together, the brothers decided to pursue separate paths to create their own mezcal lines. In 2003, Porfirio Raymundo Chagoya Me?ndez founded the company Bebidas Excelentes S.A. de C.V.

5a Generación

Expendio Tradition is a glorification of Mezcal, to the tradition of its elaboration, and to the Chagoya family that has worked in its production for decades. Opening in Oaxaca on December 2014.