Our Story: Mezcal Certification

by Bone Garden Cantina - November 17, 2017

At Bone Garden Cantina, we know our Mezcal.  So much so, that we’re actually certified.  That’s right – we even have the papers to prove it.  Pull up a chair, and let us tell you a little tale of our certification.

 If you don’t know much about the spirit, Mezcal is protected with a “Denomination of Origin” similar to special European products of origin such as champagne and cheese, known as “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” in France, where the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) certifies that the production process is carried out following certain rules and only uses ingredients from those very specific places.  Pretty fancy huh?  

The Official Mexican Standard (Norma Oficial Mexicana) acts as a form of support in the process of certification, verification and monitoring of mezcal production.  And on February 10th, 2005, the law went into effect. The intention of the law is to prove that any bottle labeled “Mezcal” is made from 100% agave native to eight specific areas in Mexico. To comply with the law, production must also take place in these areas, and no additives or other sugars are allowed in the final spirit. This regulatory action was an official move to clean out the marketplace of adulterated and inferior liquor posing as mezcal.

And this is where the story of our certification begins.  In 2014, owners Michael & Kristen Benoit and General Manager Tricia Doenges headed to New York City to begin the process of becoming certified mezcal educators with a two-day course learning the exciting world of laws and regulations of producing mezcal.  But it wasn’t all dry. (Pun intended.)  Rounding out the educational experience, we had the opportunity to taste many different types of mezcal, and create mezcal cocktails complete with food & chocolate pairings.  

Pretty exciting – but the real magic began nine months later when the Bone Garden trio headed to Oacaxa, Mexico to work hands on with the agave plant.  Part of the training process required us as participants to experience every step in the making of mezcal – from harvesting the agave, building the firepits, crushing the roasted agave, fermentation, distillation and bottling.  After successfully completing this week-long program in Oaxaca, we were graciously certified by the government of Mexico as Mezcaliers (a fancy term that means we are official mezcal educators).  Now we can officially share our love of the mezcal spirit with you. Yay team!