Mezcal Creates Jobs in Mexico

LISTEN NOW: Mezcal Creates Jobs in Mexico

  • Pedro Quintanilla, center, watches his business partner Alejandro Martinez Grey sipping mezcal through a siphon. The mezcalero, or mezcal producer on the right has just just finished distilling the mezcal. Photo by Lorne Matalon
  • The agave plant prior to being crushed into a mash which is then fermented and distilled. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • A mezcal producer lifts crushed agave fibers into a wheelbarrow. The mash is then fermented. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • Distilled mezcal is filtered into a storage drum. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • A mezcalero, or mezcal producer stands beside a fire that heats the still where the mezcal is made. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • A boy stands beside his family’s still in San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca. Behind him, buyers and village producers sample artisanal mezcal. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • Hearts of the agave plant on the road to San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca. From here the agave is brought to the village where it is cooked before being crushed into a mash that is fermented and then distilled. Photo by Lorne Matalon.
  • Mezcal producer Jorge Mendez stands with visitors beside a wood barrel where agave fibers are fermented. Reporter Lorne Matalon is on the right. [photo: Gustavo Lozano]
  • A horse drags a stone wheel in a circle to transform roasted agave plants into a fibrous mash prior to fermentation. Photo by Guastavo Lozano.
  • A woman in the Sierra Madre carries firewood near San Luis del Rio, Oaxaca. Photo by Gustavo Lozano.

In many villages in rural Mexico, family life has been torn apart by the exodus of people to the United States. The Pew Research Center says 12 million people, about 15% of Mexico’s labor force, lives across the U.S. – legally or otherwise.  But the economic downturn in the U.S. led some migrants to return to mexico. For a few lucky ones, there is work back home. That’s the case in one remote village in Southern Mexico, where an unexpected rise in the popularity of a traditional drink is bringing some people home. From the Sierra Madre of Oaxaca, Lorne Matalon reports for Marfa Public Radio.

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