A dear old friend of mine lives in Mexico City, where he runs Experience Tequila/Mezcal, giving package and custom tours of the production regions of those spirits. It's a pretty sweet gig, and while he's got an impressive range of knowledge regarding these boozes, he also has a long history of political engagement and has been helpfully directing his friends in the north to what he considers the best coverage of the ongoing brutality there (Vice, actually).

Yesterday something else showed up in my mailbox from him: a small but concrete and mutually beneficial way in which people outside the region can show their support:

Sanzekan Tinemi (“Onward Together,” in the Nahuatl language) is the most inspiring group of people I’ve meet in nearly two decades of screwing around in Mexico. They are an autonomous organization of indigenous peasants in the Río de Balsas region of Guerrero state. They are dedicated to the social and economic developments of their communities through the sustainable use of natural resources. Chief among these resources is the wild agave cupreata, which their families have been making into mezcal for centuries.

Sanzekan has launched a program of “Solidarity Bonds,” which allow you to pre-pay for mezcal that will be matured in glass (this traditional method mellows mezcal and balances flavors in an unmistakable way) for two years. Sanzekan is launching this project now because they are under intense economic pressure to sell out to large, modern mezcal companies, and their region is the epicenter of current grisly events in Mexico. Our solidarity will make a huge difference in the survival of their communities and culture.

So basically it's like a Kickstarter (including the part where you don't get your rewards for two years—zing!) except rather than sponsoring a start-up you're sponsoring the ability of maestros mezcaleros to continue what they've been doing for generations. There are two types of bonds on offer, and 200 of each will be sold. Each bond purchase is good for a liter of either mezcal that has been certified by mezcal’s regulatory body—meaning it can be served in commercial establishments—or mezcal that hasn't gone through the certification process—meaning drink it at home.

A liter of certified goes for $65, and un-certified for $40 (with minimum purchases of $243.75 and $150, respectively, which works out to be enough to fill the smallest type of vessel used in the aging process and comes to about a gallon), and those of us in the US can buy them through his web site and work through him to have it transported here without having to personally take a trip to Mexico. (Although a two-year deadline seems fair for vacation planning, if you're into that sort of thing, dear pasty Portland reader. And besides, purchase of one or more bonds includes things like a visit to the distillery where your mezcal is being produced, so you may as well take advantage of that.) You can also choose which maestro mezcalero produces it, giving you an excuse to do some drunky research. Or you could just choose the headshot you prefer, I guess, like the one of Refugio here:

  • via Experience Mezcal

Anyway, there's more information here, but this seems like a great opportunity to do something small but constructive about a situation that seems very removed from life here—not to mention a perfect example of creating a personal connection to the things you consume, which is just about the only way to do it well these days.