Whatever its merits and drawbacks, globalization has undeniably increased the uniformity between what were once distinct cultures. However, some societies are now starting to push back and are looking for ways to reaffirm their local identity. In Mexico, people are re-evaluating popular and traditional cultural elements, and trend which is clearly seen in the renewed interest in mescal. Mescal, the alcoholic beverage best know for having a worm at the bottom of the bottle, is a tradition drink made from maguey in some parts of Mexico. The production of mescal has been practiced since ancient times and relies on traditional and craft processes, in which, thanks to a long fermentation and care, the beverage ultimately takes on different aromas, strong flavors, and a high alcoholic content. (And by the way, not all of them have a worm in the bottle.)
Mescal use to be the traditional drink of the people in many towns of Mexico, but recently we have seen an increasing consumption of mescal in cities, especially in many bars of Mexico City, and even at art gallery openings and fancy restaurants. Some mescal bars, like La Botica or La Clandestina, have adapted icons and aesthetic elements of popular and traditional culture to create spaces with an urban, kitsch look. This reinvention of cultural elements is also expressed in the design of the different bottles and communication pieces of different mescal brands and bars.
Consumers are also more interested in learning where their beverages come from. The tour group T.R.I.P. organizes mescal tastings and activities that introduce drinkers to the production process and the artisans behind it, creating a bond between people interested in mescal while promoting fair trade and culture preservation.
The revaluation of mescal and its historical context is important in a society that is in search of authentic national identity. In a culturally rich country like Mexico, this trend can only be expected to increase as globalization continues, and will not be limited to one industry or product category. If anything, this renewed interest demonstrates how important it is for brands to be aware of local pride and to take advantage of new business opportunities by identifying and reinventing traditional practices.