Sales of Mezcal in the United States and around the world are growing quickly (up 72% in a decade according this article on thespiritsbusiness.com). Mezcal has been made in Mexico for many generations, often with recipes and methods being handed down through family lines. Mezcal is made from the heart of the agave plant, called the Pina. Agave plants can take 7-12 to even 30 years in some cases, to reach maturity before they can be harvested, roasted (or steamed), and then turned into Mezcal.
Tequila is a “sub-set” of Mezcal. While Tequila can only be made from Blue Weber Agave, Mezcal can be made from a variety of Agave types.
Book of the week: To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene