Sydney Block '14 MA Alum and her father Jeff

This Father-Daughter Duo Is Mixing Up the Mezcal Scene

Through a decade of visits to Oaxaca, Mexico, Sydney Block ’18 and her family came to appreciate the ancient, spiritual tradition that is mezcal. So when Block and her father went into business together to launch a mezcal brand, they kept the mezcalero (a person who distills mezcal) at the heart of the company. “We visited upwards of 50, even 100 palenques over the last several years,” Block says, explaining that these small distilleries are often on family farms, and each family makes the alcohol in a slightly different way. “It’s the most amazing experience to see families come together to do this — it’s part of everyday life for many people in Oaxaca.”

An environmental economics major at Colgate, Block was focused on bringing sustainability into the business from the beginning. Things clicked into place when the father-daughter duo met one mezcalero, Jorge, who is also a botanist working to graft wild agave so the plant can be more sustainably cultivated. Wild agave contains more sugar than cultivated agave, which means better-tasting mezcal, so Jorge is grafting together high-sugar-content wild agave plants and cultivating them on his ancestral land to avoid depleting the region’s wild supply. Each mezcalero the Blocks work with owns equity in the company, and the company plans to use these local partnerships to support more sustainability efforts in the future.

Most of the mezcal market in the U.S. is the espadin varietal, which is made primarily from the blue agave plant, but Block said mezcal is made from more than 40 different types of agave. The brand hopes to introduce mezcal fans to new varietals with six offerings from six different mezcaleros, including an espadin, three wild varietals, and two ensembles. “My personal favorite is the mexicano because it has this beautiful, approachable, citrusy silkiness to it,” Block says. She recommends sipping it neat, at room temperature, with a slice of orange on the side to bring out its bright citrus quality

This article is courtesy of Colgate Magazine.