We’ve had a few users recently ask us about our Mezcal database. Given that the database makes up about 90% of our website, we figured it’d be good to post a quick few notes about the database and why we think you should use it and contribute to it with your reviews.
A Brief History of the Database
The Mezcal database was in fact the initial spark that started the Mezcal Reviews website in early 2016. Tyler and I had been drinking mezcal fairly regularly (read: a lot) for a few years, and we’d started to notice some distinct trends. It was still very early in what has become a wide expanse of brands and varietals, but given what was available on the market at the time, we began noticing that certain brands were working with the same mezcaleros, producing in the same towns, using similar techniques, and working with lots of the same agave.
In order to track all of this, we built a spreadsheet that could easily be filtered, for example, by the name of a mezcalero to see all of the brands (that we knew of at the time) that were bottling that producer’s mezcal. The spreadsheet soon became quite large and we started looking online for websites that might be capturing some of this information. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any. So we decided to build a public-facing database to house all of the information we had in our spreadsheet, showing all of the connections between regions, agave, producers, brands, etc…. And thus the Mezcal Reviews website was born.
How to Access the Database
The database makes up most of the website. While we have a blog and a few other features, Mezcal Reviews is mostly a large, interactive Mezcal Database. It can be accessed from the homepage by simply searching for the mezcal you’d like to know more about, or it can be easily categorized by agave, brand, style, mezcalero, or state on the top navigation bar. Once you’re on the page for any bottle of mezcal, you can also simply click any of the links for cost, brand, NOM, mezcalero, agave, distillation type, grind, style, state, or town to find more mezcals that share that same characteristic.
For example, if you like mezcal that is distilled in clay pots, just find a mezcal like Real Minero and click the link on Distillation Type for Clay Pot. Voila, you’d then be looking at a list of almost all the clay pot distilled mezcal on the market.
The Database is Growing
The size and scope of the database has grown far beyond what we’d imagined when we started the website. I believe we’d estimated that somewhere around 100-150 different releases were available in the US market when we began working on the site in 2016. As of the writing of this post, we have over 800 bottles listed in the database, with another 100 or so bottles in backlog that need to be added. (Tip: if you want to know how many bottles we have in our database at any given time, just go to the homepage and you’ll see “Explore our current catalog of ________unique bottles”).
Key Database Feature: Reviews
As the name our website would indicate, we think reviews are a super powerful way for people to get a true understanding of the spirits they’re drinking. We didn’t just want our database to be a static resource. We wanted it to be a living, breathing source of information (Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge…Have you written a review yet?).
Our initial use case for the site was to create something that people could reference when they were standing in a liquor store or in a bar, wondering why something called Arroqueno costs 3x as much as something called Espadin. With that use case as our North Star, we’ve built in some other nice features, but we really try to keep true to being a resource that is easy to use and informative for all levels of agave spirits drinkers.
In a recent survey sent to our email subscribers, we found that 74.1% of users reported that other users’ ratings and reviews were one of the most important factors for them when using the database to find new mezcal. In order to keep the integrity and authenticity of these reviews intact, we’ve taken steps to proactively enforce our policy of not allowing brands to ask their brand reps, friends, or family to write reviews.
Updating the Database
We’re adding new brands and bottles continuously. The recent mezcal boom has given us a massive list of additional bottles to add and we’re working diligently to get those posted. If you ever want to review a mezcal that is not listed on our site, however, send us a message at [email protected] and we’ll work on getting those pages published.
We’ve also added a few new fields and categories to the database based on user feedback. For example, the fields for NOM and Cost were both suggested by users. The database also now includes separate lists for raicilla and sotol producers.
Some brands also occasionally change their production from one mezcalero to another, from one NOM to another, etc… We try our best to keep up with these changes as they happen, but as the database grows larger, this has become increasingly difficult. That said, we want all of our information to always be 100% correct. If you notice anything on our site that looks incorrect or outdated, please send us an email immediately at [email protected]