Ilegal Mezcal has an extraordinary origin story. John Rexer, the company’s owner, would smuggle bottles of Mezcal from Oaxaca to Guatemala to stock his bar Café No Sé. The drink quickly gained popularity and Rexer was able to find a permanent supply chain, albeit an illegal supply chain.
From this, Ilegal Mezcal was born. It has since thrived and become somewhat of an artisanal legend. The brand prides itself on not embracing the industrial revolution of drinks production, and rather focuses on the fact that it handcrafted and authentic.
Destileria Tlacolula is located in Tlacolula, Oaxaca, Mexico, which is a Mezcal production hub that is home to many different brands and distilleries that distribute both locally and on the international market.
It is run by Eric Hernandez, who is a legend in the Mezcal community. His dedication and innovative production techniques are renowned throughout the world and he is known as one of the foremost experts in the field. His distillery is perhaps most well-known for its production of Ilegal Mezcal, Los Amantes, and Xicala. He works mostly with cultivated agave espadin, which is abundant in the region, but he has been known to make limited releases that are made with other varieties of agave.
Destileria Tlacolula is equipped with the most up to date distillation technology and it has one of the most well-established barrel-aging programs in all of Oaxaca. The aging of Mezcal is not something that many distilleries are able to accomplish due to high costs and lack of resources. Some producers do not believe that Mezcal should be barrel-aged in the similar Reposado, Anejo, Extra-Anejo fashion that has gained popularity in the Tequila industry. Others, like Destileria Tlacolula, see barrel-aging as an opportunity to continue to innovate and make progress with the spirits they produce.