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Everybody knows you can visit tequila distilleries in the town of Tequila, Jalisco State.

But you can also visit distilleries of Mexico's less famous spirit/liquor, mezcal, in Oaxaca State.

I know because back in 2007 or 2008 with an expat friend and some backpackers we met in a hostel we did a road trip and visited some. I'm no longer in touch with that friend and I can't remember the name of our destination. I seem to recall that there was one village or town that was known as, or that likened itself as, the "home" of mezcal. I think there were even roadsigns or banners declaring it.

However Googling for the place is proving fruitless. I'm just finding individual organized tours and statements that mezcal is produced all around the valleys of Oaxaca. Does anybody know the actual name of the place I'm referring to so I can suggest it to my friend travelling in Mexico now?

  • I have visited a Mezcal plantation in Chiapas. My impression is that Mezcal production far pre-dates the "regional laws" that govern modern trademarks like 'tequila' and 'bourbon'. – Flimzy Oct 10 '14 at 10:16
  • Oh of course. This town's claim to be the "capital" is not official as far as I know. The official rule about which regions can make mezcal includes four or five states if I recall correctly. Yes, from Wikipedia: "States that have certified mezcal agave growing areas with production facilities are Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas." – hippietrail Oct 10 '14 at 10:42
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Found it!

It turns out I took a photo of the sign I mentioned.
banner/sign above road
BIENVENIDOS A STGO. MATATLAN OAX.
"CAPITAL MUNDIAL DEL MEZCAL"

The town is called Santiago Matatlán and styles itself "World Capital of Mezcal".

It's about a forty-minute drive southeast of Oaxaca City and not so far from two major local tourist destinations: The ruins at Mitla and the rock formations at Hierve el agua.

There's also a pretty good and recent blog post on Santiago Matatlán and its mezcal by a guy called Dave Miller.

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