mezcal nom-199

Mezcal: Nom-199 and the ongoing regulations standoff

25 March, 2021

“The CRM has also been more dili- gent when it comes to ensuring non- certified producers aren’t labelling themselves as mezcal. The body was likely involved in the establishment of Nom-199 and would have loved to have regulated who could use the words ‘agave’ or ‘Maguey’ because it would have empowered its position. That said, it’s hard to know whether it was in favour of or against the implementation of Nom-199. 

“I think what Nom-199 was really doing was protecting people from poorly made spirits and aligning itself to tax all alcohol producers in Mexico, so I don’t think it’s over just yet.” 

It appears that with the threat of broad and sweeping regulations now looming for the Mexican beverage industry, such as Nom-199, it’s the producers that currently sit under the various DOs which have the advantage. However, there’s nothing officially stop- ping the development of new ones. 

Cross adds: “It will be interesting to see if the threat which Nom-199 caused to smaller brands will catapult groups of small producers to work together and establish new appellations. That would take an awful lot of organisation and money and they would then have to hope they got recognised by other markets around the world, but it’s certainly an option to consider.” 

Around the world DOs and Geographical Indicators are established to not only protect the traditional production methods of a particular spirit, but to guarantee quality and strong regulation. 

However, it feels like in Mexico, with so many conflicts of interest between the government, the regulatory bodies and the destilados de agave producers, the development of DOs has become more about brand management rather than protecting the traditions of mezcal. In short, mezcal needs to sort out these internal discrepancies in order to fully reflect the diversity of the category on a global level.

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