The small Santa Ana del Rio destilería lies on the north bank of the Rio Hormiga Colorado in Santa Ana del Rio, pop. 466, at the bottom of a canyon about two hours southeast of Oaxaca City.

Crossing the river to the destilería.

Santa Ana distills mountain-grown (3200-4000 feet) espadín (agave angustifolia). The soils are thin, white, and very rocky.

Bringing in mountain agaves by mule.

The destileria

The destileria

The horno (fire-pit oven), tidier than most


Eduardo Hernandez’ father (in back) was the first to bring a stone mill to Santa Ana del Rio. Before that, everyone milled by hand with canoas and mazos.

The tahona, circular stone mill, in Santa Ana drawn by a mule.

The 800-liter oak tinas (fermentation vats).


Holding down the top of the still

On the way into town

On the way into town