Over two days in March, Sydney will be the scene of the biggest ever agave spirits event to be held in the southern hemisphere when Agave Love kicks off.
On Sunday the 22nd and Monday the 23rd of March, some of the biggest and most knowledgeable names in agave spirits will be conducting tastings, talks and masterclasses — along with some Agave Love-fuelled parties — at six Sydney venues around Oxford street (Casoni, Low302, Hello Sailor, Shady Pines Saloon and The Winery) and at Mr Moustache in Bondi.
One of the great speakers Phil Bayly has lined up for the event is Jacob Lustig. Owner of Real de Minas distillery in Oaxaca, and Seleccion ArteNOM Tequila, Lustig also owns Fernet-Vallet, a distinctive fernet from Mexico. He’ll be talking about the history of mezcal at Agave Love, as well as its distillation — Check out the story below, and visit agavelove.com.au to book tickets.
Name: Jacob Lustig
Role: Owner of Destilería Real de Minas (mezcal distillery in Oaxaca, where I’ve been producing Don Amado Mezcal since the early 1990’s); owner of Selección ArteNOM Tequila (industry’s only permitted line of tequilas sourced from different distilleries in different regions, to juxtapose different terroir and production methods); owner of 130 year-old Fernet-Vallet and Amargo Angostura-Vallet (Mexican bitter liqueurs produced since the 1880’s in Mexico City.. brought by emigres during brief French colonial period); National USA Sales Manager of Haas Brothers in San Francisco (17th oldest company in California history.. merchant of bourbon, vodkas and gins in addition to my own products from Mexico).
What does a typical day in your life involve?
I check in with each of the six different distilleries’ production managers to catch any hiccups or production delays, challenges, or problems. I’ll
engage regional managers to attend to problem-solving regarding production variances, inventory concerns, customs, freight, and warehousing challenges. Engage assorted graphic design and web-support personnel to resolve challenges related to label/package design updates, social media dissemination, website updates (x12 brands), etc. I work with regional importers and distributors to develop sales programs, attend to top-tier customers for special pricing issues, brand descriptions and accolades, etc. I also attend to financial bookkeeping and tax compliance, regular daily dialog with USA and Mexico accounting departments to engage and resolve problems that continuously occur with so many activities.
What’s your preference – tequila or mezcal?
Tequila when eating socially, dancing, engaging in group activities or partying; mezcal when I’m with closer friends, more meditative environments, listening to music, before dinner (more intimate environments). Why? For me, mezcal is more contemplative, whereas tequila is lighter, more accesible to broader audience, and so a bit more social and less nuanced.
Can you describe a favourite moment with agave spirits?
When it’s more cerebral and less celebratory; contemplative, spiritual experiences during communal drinking occasions, usually in remote parts of Mexican mountain ranges, where effects from agave spirits feel more profound, less celebratory.
Where do you see the agave spirits industry going?
There’s many decades of growth to come. Increasingly we’re seeing “agave spirits vs all other spirits” rather than it being considered a singular category. I believe in some future time, consumers will contemplate, “Should I have an agave spirit tonight or something else (ie. cereal spirits, cane spirits, grape spirits, etc. all as one, while agave spirits will increasingly comprise an autonomous paradigm).