Paying Homage Through Mezcal

June 26, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

José Estrada Duarte holding his award winning mezcal and his first place ribbon.

José Estrada Duarte was all smiles at the festival when he accepted the first place award in the best of other spirits division. Photo/Nelly Cervantes

Winners of the Distilled San Diego Spirit and Cocktail competition were announced Saturday, June 24, and among them was a mezcal producer from Mexico.

José Estrada Duarte attended the festival at the San Diego County Fairgrounds to accept the first place award in the best of other spirits division.

Estrada Duarte and his brother, David Estrada Duarte, created Don Raymundo Duarte and Company in 2015.

The partners and brothers named their mezcal Papá Rey to pay homage to their grandfather.

“That’s what we called him when we were kids,” Estrada Duarte said. “We made a brand around my grandfather and it is a family business.”

Estrada Duarte said mezcal is an excellent product to sell because there has been a growing interest for the liquor all over the world.

North of the border, Don Rey and Papá Rey can currently be found in Texas retailers, but Estrada Duarte said he is hopeful that they will begin selling their mezcal in California by December.

Estrada Duarte said they didn’t expect to win when they entered the contest.

“I’m excited because people are liking it and people are asking where we sell here in San Diego, California,” Estrada Duarte said.

Other best division winners included:

• Cutwater Spirits, Devil’s Share Bourbon, Best of Whiskey/Whisky Division
• E & J Brandy, VSOP, Best of Brandy Division
• Humboldt Distillery, Humboldt Distillery Original Rum, Certified Organic, Best of Rum (Cane Spirits) Division
• Marble Distilling Co., Marble Vodka, Best of Vodka Division
• Tejano Imports, Mezcal Veras Reposado, Best of Agave Spirits Division
• Prairie Organic Spirits, Prairie Organic Gin, Best of Gin Division
• Tequila Fortaleza, Tequila Fortaleza Ańejo, Best of 100% Blue Agave Tequila Division, Mexico
• Thomas & Sons Distillery, Townshend’s No. 50 Kashmiri Amaro Bitter Tea, Best of Liqueurs Division

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