Mezcal has been gaining popularity around the world, but what exactly can you expect to pay for a good bottle? The price of mezcal varies depending on several factors, including the type of agave used, the production process, the brand, the badge size, and many more. In this article, we will explore the general range of prices for mezcal, as well as some specific brands and types.
General Range of Mezcal Prices
The price of mezcal can range from $20 to $200 or more, depending on various factors. The price ranges can be broken down like this:
- Cheap: under $40 – Mostly industrially produced mezcal using espadín agave
- Average price: $40 – $100 – Most mezcals fall into this category. You can find a very good artisanal bottle for under $100.
- Expensive mezcal: $100 – $150 – Most of these bottles have something special to them, maybe they were aged or used a rather rare type of agave.
- Luxury mezcal: Over $150 – To ask for more than $150, a mezcal should be very special. In this price range you’ll find limited editions and highly sought after small badges. Most of these bottles are made fro wild agaves.
For instance, mezcal made from wild agave tends to be more expensive than that made from cultivated agave (espadín). The factors that can affect the price of mezcal include:
- the agave used: rarity, age and maturation time. Some types mature within 5 years, some up to 35 years.
- the production process: industrial, artisanal or ancestral (strictly using traditional methods).
- the brand: as in any other field, premium brands ask for premium prices.
- the badge size: many good mezcals are from a small badge production. When demand for a badge of 500 bottles soars, the price inevitably goes up.
- Aging & special production methods: aging a spirit takes time space and resources. That’s why aged mezcal is on average more expensive than non-aged mezcal (“Mezcal joven”). A production method that makes a mezcal more expensive is “pechuga”, in which the spirit undergoes an extra distillation process that includes raw meat and all kinds of spices, berries and other ingredients.
Price Differences in the United States & Mexico
The price of mezcal can vary significantly depending on where you buy it. In the United States, mezcal tends to be more expensive than in Mexico.
The reason is clear: Mezcal is produced in Mexico and needs to be imported to the US. The process of getting Mezcal into the US includes a lot of costly elements, for example import taxes, shipping costs, licenses and marketing costs.
Prices Differences by Type of Agave
As mentioned earlier, the type of agave used to make mezcal can significantly affect the price. Mezcal made from wild agave tends to be more expensive than that made from the only cultivated agave type espadín. Some of the most popular types of wild agave used in the production of mezcal include Tobala, Tepeztate, Madrecuixe and Arroqueño.
This is due to the limited availability and long maturation time of wild agave as well as the extra effort required to harvest and process it. All the effort and cost is worth it though: Mezcals made from wild agave offer unique taste notes that vary immensely and make every new bottle a new experience.
The Price Differences Compared to Tequila
Tequila is made using blue agave, while mezcal can be made using various types of agave. The production process for tequila is also different from that of mezcal, as tequila is typically cooked in an industrial oven rather than a pit oven, whereas Mezcal is produced more traditional and in small badges. This causes the price of mezcal to be generally higher than that of tequila.
However, on the high-end price sector, you’ll find way more tequilas with what some people would call insane prices of several hundred or even thousands of dollars. This is rather due to the fact that Tequila is more well known than Mezcal.
Mezcal Tasting Prices and Tasting Notes
Mezcal tastings are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and other countries. A mezcal tasting typically involves sampling several types of mezcal and learning about the different flavors and production processes. The price of a mezcal tasting can vary depending on the location and the types of mezcal being sampled. Mezcal tastings can range from $30 to $100 or more.
The taste of mezcal can vary widely depending on the type of agave used, the production process, and other factors. Mezcal can have notes of smoke, earth, fruit, caramel, and more. As the price of mezcal increases, the taste can become more complex and refined, with a greater depth of flavor.
The Best Mezcals for Your Money
There are many great mezcals available at a reasonable price. Some of the best mezcals for your money include El Jolgorio, Los Amantes, and Dona Vega. These mezcals are all made using traditional methods and offer a high-quality taste at an affordable price.
Artisanal Mezcals and Their Prices
Artisanal mezcals are made using traditional methods and can offer a unique taste that is not found in mass-produced mezcals. The price of artisanal mezcals can vary widely, depending on the brand and the type of agave used. Some artisanal mezcals can cost hundreds of dollars, while others are more affordable.
Del Maguey Mezcal
Del Maguey is a popular brand of mezcal that is known for its quality and distinct taste. Del Maguey Mezcal is made using traditional methods, including baking the agave in an earthen pit oven and distilling the spirit in a copper still. Del Maguey offers several types of mezcal, including Chichicapa, Vida, San Luis del Rio, and others.
Del Maguey Vida Mezcal is one of the most popular and widely available types of mezcal from this brand. It is made from 100% Espadin agave, which is cultivated in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. The flavor of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal is smoky and earthy, with notes of caramel and fruit. The price of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal ranges from $40 to $50.
Del Maguey Chichicapa is another popular type of mezcal from the Del Maguey brand. Chichicapa is made using 100% Espadin agave that is roasted in an earthen pit oven. The flavor of Del Maguey Chichicapa is smoky and spicy, with notes of citrus and fruit. The price of Del Maguey Chichicapa ranges from $70 to $90.
Ilegal Mezcal is another well-known brand of mezcal that has gained popularity in recent years. Ilegal Mezcal is made using traditional methods, and the agave used in the production process is grown in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Ilegal Mezcal offers several types of mezcal, including Joven, Reposado, and Anejo.
The price of Ilegal Mezcal ranges from $40 to $100, depending on the type and the country of purchase. In the United States, Ilegal Mezcal is widely available and can be found in liquor stores and bars.
New Zealand Mezcals
While mezcal is traditionally made in Mexico, there are some producers in other countries, such as New Zealand, that are experimenting with mezcal production. However, the price and availability of New Zealand mezcal may vary widely and may not be widely available outside of New Zealand.
South African Mezcals
South Africa is another country that is experimenting with mezcal production. The price and availability of South African mezcal may vary, and it may not be widely available outside of South Africa.
Santiago Matatlan is a town in Mexico that is known for its mezcal production. Many of the top mezcal brands, including Del Maguey, source their agave from Santiago Matatlan. The price of mezcal from Santiago Matatlan may vary depending on the brand and the type of agave used.
The prices of Some Specific Mezcals
San Luis del Rio
San Luis del Rio is a popular mezcal from the brand Del Maguey, which is made using Espadin agave and roasted in an earthen pit oven. The flavor of San Luis del Rio is smoky and earthy, with notes of fruit and spice. The price of San Luis del Rio ranges from $65 to $80.
El Silencio is another popular mezcal brand, which offers several types of mezcal at varying prices. Their most affordable mezcal, El Silencio Espadin, is priced at around $30. Their other mezcals, including the Joven, Reposado, and Añejo, can range in price from $50 to $100 or more.
Ron Cooper is the founder of the Del Maguey brand and is known for his expertise in the field of mezcal production. The price of Ron Cooper’s mezcal may vary depending on the brand and the type of agave used.
El Jolgorio is an artisanal mezcal brand that offers several types of mezcal at varying prices. Their most affordable mezcal, El Jolgorio Espadin, is priced at around $50. Their other mezcals, including the Tobaziche, Tepeztate, and Jabali, can range in price from $80 to $150 or more.
Rey Campero is another artisanal mezcal brand that offers several types of mezcal at varying prices. Their most affordable mezcal, Rey Campero Espadin, is priced at around $50. Their other mezcals, including the Tepextate, Cuishe, and Jabali, can range in price from $80 to $150 or more.
Dona Vega is an artisanal mezcal brand that offers several types of mezcal at varying prices. Their most affordable mezcal, Dona Vega Espadin, is priced at around $50. Their other mezcals, including the Tobala, Tepextate, and Cuishe, can range in price from $80 to $150 or more.
Los Amantes is another popular mezcal brand, which offers several types of mezcal at varying prices. Their most affordable mezcal, Los Amantes Joven, is priced at around $50. Their other mezcals, including the Reposado and Añejo, can range in price from $60 to $100 or more.
Del Maguey Vida
Del Maguey Vida is a popular and affordable mezcal from the Del Maguey brand. Vida is made using Espadin agave that is roasted in an earthen pit oven. The flavor of Del Maguey Vida is smoky and earthy, with notes of fruit and spice. The price of Del Maguey Vida ranges from $35 to $45.
Mezcal is a complex and varied spirit that offers a unique taste and drinking experience. The price of mezcal can vary widely depending on the brand, the type of agave used, and other factors. Some of the most popular and widely available mezcal brands include Del Maguey, El Silencio, and Los Amantes, while artisanal brands such as El Jolgorio, Rey Campero, and Dona Vega offer a high-quality taste at a higher price point. While mezcal can be expensive, there are many great mezcals available at an affordable price, making it a spirit that can be enjoyed by all.