COMUNIDAD – Santa Catarina Minas

Heladio Lopez learned his craft working in excellent destilerías in Santa Catarina Minas. He has built a small shed next to his house where he distills superb small clay-pot batches from local agaves.


Santa Catarina (pop 1976) is at 5190 feet in a small valley in mountainous terrain south of Oaxaca city. Rich volcanic soils.

Two of Heladio’s three clay stills

The single fermentation vat. Below, the space where Heladio crushes roasted agaves with a mazo (mallet).

Placing the upper pot for the next run.

Tending the fire. Even heat is crucial.

Sealing the still with bagasso, the agave solids from an earlier run.

Tripón, the agave in Heladio’s Comunidad no.12, is a large local Karwinskii variant, seldom distilled. Its mezcal is rich and complex.