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Have mezcal prices shot up, or is it just me?

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A few years ago, I first tried mezcal at a bar; the bartender said "everyone knows tequila, but mezcal's where it's at." I had to agree. Smoky, rich, and really unique, I totally fell in love with the stuff. And I could get bottles for $15-25 easily!

But now that mezcal's hip, it seems like even the 'cheap' stuff is $30, minimum, and most mezcals are in the $40-$50 range... at least, around the Boston area. Are other people noticing this?

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  1. I can't speak for Boston but since I have been paying attention to mezcal, the last 5 years or so, it has always been pricey relative to other spirits.The low end of mezcal is usually $45.00 from most sites I have visited from K&L etc.

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    2 Replies
    1. re: quazi

      Just a caution so that others may avoid my mistake.....
      bought a bottle of Zignum mescal on impulse for ~$22 when local retailer didn't have DM Vida, on their website it touted that it was "Mezcal sin humo" (without smoke)....What's the point of that!!???!!

      1. re: Sam Spade

        Because agave is rather delicious whether or not it has smoke in it.

        I used to think the same about Scotch - why bother drinking it if it isn't really peaty? Until I went to a Scotch tasting and started light and worked my way up (since I figured it would be hard to go from Islay whisky to something lighter), and I rather enjoyed these less smoky Scotches. The Scotches were full of lemon, mandarine orange, and floral notes from the grain itself and this is completely overshadowed in even slightly smoky Scotches.

        http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com

    2. I don't think you've ever been able to get good mezcal cheap around here (Boston). $35-40 for the basic mezcals seems to be the general going price, like Maguey Vida, Fidencio Clasico, or Sombra.

      The special limited bottlings go for multiples of that price. Not sure what you were getting for $15 that didn't have a worm in it, but can't say I've ever seen it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nickls

        Well, it's not there now, that's for certain! I may have just been mistaken.

        That said, I'm on the lookout for a good mezcal that's not as expensive as a rare single-malt scotch.

      2. A $30 bottle of mezcal is usually ok, but only good for mixing in cocktails, the higher end mezcals that go for $50 or more are good for sipping. As I have studied the market in the past 3 years, in NYC, the prices on mezcal in retail shops has decreased in around 15% percent and the reason is very simple, there is a lot of more competition. 3 years ago, in Astor wines you could only find 5 brands of mezcal, today there are at least 18 brands, so competition has soared.
        There are also many reason why mezcal is expensive, first of all, it is an artisanal spirit made by local producers without the use of machines, energy and chemicals to speed up the production, second and most important, there are a lot of middle men involved in order to get the mezcal to a retail shop.
        I know all this information because I am the owner of a mezcal brand only available in NYC and for the past 3 years I've devoted a lot of time in introducing and placing my brand in the NYC market.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pedroochoa

          Saying a $30 Mezcal is only good for mixing is your opinion and not necessarily shared by everyone, I actually prefer the crisp bold smoky taste of Sombra to the more highly regarded Los Nahuales Repo, which costs about twice as much.

          Although I don't agree with many of their rankings, F. Paul Pacult's Ultimate Spirits Challenge has rated Vida and/or Sombra at the top of their lists all three years (when they participated). On the other hand, I am not sure what criteria they use for mezcal in their competition, as a couple of brands which are highly regarded by mezcal lovers don't score well (Del Maguey Chichicapa and Minero).