Mezcal: From Field to Glass

Class Dates

May 29, 2020 to June 26, 2020

Meeting Days

Fridays 4 - 6 PM



Course Instructor(s)

Join Dr. Doug Smith, anthropologist, Arizona native, and owner of Tucson’s Exo Roast Co. in this five week online course and learn about all things mezcal. In recent years, mezcal has risen to the top of the craft spirits world.  Its heritage, its artisanality, its complexity—these qualities draw people in search of “authenticity.”  Mezcal’s expansion into export markets has provided economic opportunity to some of Mexico’s most marginalized people, especially in neglected rural, and often indigenous, zones.  Meanwhile, that same expansion has raised questions about environmental sustainability and social justice. 

Dr. Smith and some of the most important figures in the agave spirits universe will introduce participants to the world of mezcal.  Course topics will include:  the botany and geography of mezcal’s denomination of origin, the history of agave spirits, the culture of mezcal production and consumption in Mexico, typical production techniques in different areas, and the shifting, sometimes contradictory legal framework designed to protect mezcal’s integrity in the market.  So that participants may explore the diversity of mezcal itself, each two-hour class will feature a tasting!  Interested participants will order specially prepared tasting kits on Thursdays at Exo’s website and pick them up on Fridays before class.

Please note that the course tuition does NOT include the price of the tasting kits.

Readings and Syllabus

Schroeder, James. Understanding Mezcal. ISBN-10: 0692171088. ISBN-13: 978-0692171080.

Other readings will be uploaded to Box@UA and the link will be shared with registered participants.


Online registration for this course opens on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 10 a.m.

Refunds are available and need to be requested before or by June 4. To drop a class, please contact Kerstin Miller at 520-621-5111 or A $25 administrative fee for each cancellation will apply.