We help replenish the agave we consume....
The explosion in the interest in mezcal and other agave spirits is great — it's fueling projects like building libraries, and it's bringing an adult male population back to Mexico's rural communities. They don't have to leave to make money to send back home — now they can stay home and earn money by making agave distillates. But since agave takes between four and 40 years to reach maturity ... and since agaves that are harvested for the making of spirits cannot go to seed to repopulate ... this explosion in production is seriously threatening the agave population. A reduction in agave would jeopardize the longevity of this financial boon and also threatens the environment — agave takes a ton of carbon out of the atmosphere. So it is critical that the agave be replaced. To that end, we have been raising funds to help maintain the greenhouse in Santa Catarina Minas. The greenhouse — which is run by the local government — offers baby agave to community residents. We also host an annual Earth Day event during which local residents replant agave in the mountains surround Minas.
Arroqueño is an agave varietal that can take 22 years to reach maturity. As such, it is one of the varietals at risk of becoming extinct. As the demand for agave spirits increases, the wild agave is harvested in greater numbers — and when it is harvested, it loses its ability to produce seeds. To the left is a picture of a crop of Arroqueño that was paid for with funds generated at a tasting we hosted for members of Chicago's LTH Forum. These were nine-year-old agave that were transplanted at a farm in Minas in 2015, where they are being allowed to go to seed, thus ensuring the varietal won't go extinct.