The Mezcal Collaborative Advisory Board is comprised of people with a broad range of expertise across various areas that impact the category of Mezcal. This initial advisory board will serve a 12-18 month term and will guide the Collaborative through the initial steps of developing infrastructure, process and goals. We are very excited by the caliber and breadth of the first advisory board. Future advisory boards will be comprised of elected members.
Madrina – Del Maguey
Misty Kalkofen first stepped behind the bar while studying theology at Harvard Divinity School and soon realized what most excited her about the Bible was the passage in which Jesus turns water into wine. Kalkofen has spent over twenty years honing her craft and has earned a reputation as one of America’s foremost authorities on cocktail history and culture. She has been featured in Bon Appetit, Imbibe, Food & Wine Cocktail editions, Wine Enthusiast, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Tasting Panel, Wine & Spirits, and more. In 2013, she decided to focus attention on her love for all things agave by joining the team of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal. Always one to find a good reason for a party, Kalkofen founded the Boston chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail (LUPEC) thus fulfilling her desire to “cocktail for a cause.” Since then, LUPEC has raised more than $40,000 for local Boston women’s charities by throwing the best parties in town.
Co-founder – Laika Spirits
Mackenzie Shults is the Co-Founder of Laika Spirits and Managing Partner at Dancing Dog Ranch. Her work is rooted in telling the story of the plants and communities that care for them to the consumers that enjoy them, whether it is wild agave from Southern Mexico distilled into mezcal, or rare cannabis strains grown in Northern California. She strives to apply her background in applied research and inquiry-based design to create products that make a difference to both communities of origin and consumers.
Bob brings practice in sustainability, community engagement with Oaxaca, and recently has introduced Huxal mezcal. As an environmental engineer, Bob founded Terradex to provide web-based land stewardship monitoring land activities impacting sensitive habitats or environmentally-impaired land. Bob is president of the Palo Alto, California sister city programs including Oaxaca as a sister city for 50 years. Across 20 years, Bob has arranged the transport of 15 emergency vehicles to Oaxaca’s fire fighters – one ambulance alone recorded 750 births. Bob also lead an initiative for the first sale of carbon offsets from Mexico to California relying on managing forests in rural Oaxaca. Beyond the environmental benefit, economic benefit to rural communities are being developed including efforts to introduce planting of wild agaves. In 2019, Bob is part of a team introducing Huxal Mezcal as an artisanal mezcal also yielding monies to support transporting more vehicles to Oaxaca’s fire fighters. Bob looks forward to contributing social and environmental insights into the Mezcal Collaboration.
Director of Operations UPADEC and Banhez Mezcal
Luis Perez is the third generation of the Perez family to guide the UPADEC Co-op and Banhez Mezcal. Based in San Miguel Ejutla, he works alongside his father Francisco Javier Perez, and the numerous members of the co-operative to bring Banhez Mezcal to life. Raised in an agave cultivar family and now with a new family of his own, Luis truly understands the communal integrity it takes to produce Mezcal.
Director of Education Banhez Mezcal and CNI Brands
Alex’s life-long fascination with plants, dirt, and food has lead to multiple jobs and a career focused on improving sustainable food systems and empowering the people behind them. Over the past decade he has been lucky enough to work with a multitude of independent producers from many walks of life. Currently, you can find him jumping between the US and Mexico tying his best to understand the complexity of mezcal and the wide world of agave spirits.
Co-founder Mezcales CUISH
Full bio coming
Director – Cerrimex
Jaime is currently the Director of Marketing and Business Development at CERRIMEX, LLC, a corporation focused on the importation and distribution of select alcoholic beverages with an emphasis on premium Mexican spirits. Jaime’s passion for Mexican spirits stems both from his chemical background as well as his love for the rural and artisanal Mexico of times past. Prior to devoting his time to the spirits industry, Jaime was a practicing attorney at international law firms where he focused his practice on intellectual property issues related to patent prosecution, as well as trademark litigation. Jaime’s scientific experience includes work in organic chemistry and biochemistry. He has authored articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at scientific conferences. Jaime believes that the historical context of Mexican artisanal spirits as well as the deceptively simple series of chemical transformations that makes them possible are equal and necessary elements to achieve a true appreciation of Mexican spirits. It is at this interface of tradition, craftsmanship, and science that Jaime likes to operate.
Jay Schroeder has dedicated his career to agave and cocktail culture, working exclusively with agave products for years to become one of the preeminent authorities on Mexican spirits in the industry. Schroeder’s history with agave spirits includes running the beverage program for Rick Bayless’s top restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and Xoco; launching the award-winning Mezcaleria Las Flores in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood and most recently running the beverage program as a partner at Logan Square’s acclaimed restaurant Quiote and adjacent mezcaleria Todos Santos.
COO – Ilegal Mezcal
Michelle’s early career started with 15 years in hospitality management from 24 hour dive bars to boutique hotels and was followed by ten years of owning her own firm specializing in hospitality investment management and compliance. In 2013, feeling a bit tired she decided to take a year off and travel Central and South America. Her first stop was Antigua, Guatemala where she promptly found the bar, Cafe No Se, and the liquid, Ilegal Mezcal. It was love at first sip. Her year off lasted ten days when she met the founder of Ilegal, John Rexer (and coincidentally owner of her now favorite bar). The company was growing quickly and in need. She joined Ilegal right away as the Director of Operations, stayed in Antigua for three years (that tends to happen there) before moving back to NYC to continue growing the brand and the company. She has been on board with Ilegal for over 6 years now, is a co-founder of the lifestyle marketing group 11C & Co and is still waiting to take that year off.
Tess Rose Lampert
Wine and Spirits Educator
Tess Rose Lampert is a New York based writer, educator and beverage expert with a lifelong passion for Mexican culture. Her work has taken her on extensive travels throughout Mexico to learn about agave spirits from the families and communities that produce them, and bring back their knowledge and wisdom to share with other enthusiasts. In addition to consulting with brands and judging competitions, she participates in and organizes events to educate consumers, trade, and media on all aspects of agave.
Venture Capitalist, MezcalPhD
John McEvoy, from the well-known blog Mezcal PhD, is the author of Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! The Revised Second Edition and the original, Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! The Complete Guide from Agave to Zapotec. John is known for his direct commentary. He celebrates the many excellent mezcal brands on the market, but also is not shy about calling out the industrial and poorly made mezcals. He traces his love of mezcal to a journey that began with tequila over 30 years ago. As mezcal began to emerge in the 2000s, John embraced this amazing spirit and made it his mission to inform and educate everyone he could reach. Mostly, his wife just got tired of him talking to her about it all the time. As mezcal is an endless riddle, John continues his own education by making regular trips to Oaxaca and drinking as much mezcal as possible – he calls this research. When not immersed in the mezcal world, John runs a New York based venture group, Tribeca Early Stage Partners. He has an undergraduate degree in Business from the University of Texas and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University.
Founder – Terranova Spirits
A native Californian, Jake Lustig spent much of his youth in Mexico, where as a teenager he worked as a translator and tour guide for visitors to the remote southern region of Oaxaca. When tequila’s popularity began to boom in the late 1980’s, Jake added mezcal distilleries to his artisan village tours. In working with these remote Oaxacan distilleries, Jake learned of the nuances in agave distillation and eventually began a small business selling quality mezcal to neighbors and visiting travelers. In 1995, with his work by now focused wholly on mezcal distilleries and production, Jake partnered with an 11-generation distillation family, the Arellanes family, to renovate the family’s Destilería Real de Minas, and launched a newly created mezcal brand, Don Amado Mezcal. Following a couple of years of distillation and brand development work in Mexico, in 1997 the team began exporting the Don Amado Mezcal brand abroad to begin develop foreign markets. His experience in production and mezcal brand development led to work with Espolon Tequila,Southern Wines & Spirits, and Haas Brothers. In 2017 Jake partnered with friend and colleague, Enrique Fonseca, to create Terranova Spirits, a global purveyor of spirits and liqueurs, with a focus on agave, cane spirits and bitters.
Media and Technology Entrepreneur
Glynn established his first company – a leading youth consumer magazine, challenging the way young people learn – at the age of 15. He now works across private and public sectors and his initiatives have been consumed by millions of print media readers, by tens of millions of television viewers and over a billion internet visitors.’Culture Group’, founded by Glynn, creates initiatives to entertain, inform and inspire. They do this by developing digital strategies, formats and partnerships to create social change. Learning platforms that result in loyalty and growth for clients including Google, Virgin, Red Bull, Comic Relief and Santander. Glynn sits on an Advisory Board for BBC Studios, sat on the Advisory Board for Welsh Government and co-founded Young Brits as a social enterprise to champion young business talent from the UK. He is a UK Ambassador for the European Cultural Parliament’s Youth Network & was the UK’s Lead Entrepreneur delegate at the G20 Summits. Glynn became a Director of UnLtd – a £100m Foundation for social entrepreneurs – for six years and additionally Director of Digital and Emerging Markets for Santander. Glynn was appointed as a diplomat by the President of Mexico as a UK Honorary Consul. Glynn began working with members of the Mezcal industry in 2008 and recently established his own brand, Kiko Mezcal.
Founder – Almamezcalera
Full bio coming