Nick Bell, manager of Amathus’s Soho store, told OLN: “Specific mezcal bars and restaurants are opening up and that is pushing it into the public eye. A lot more consumers are coming in requesting mezcals and wanting to try new mezcals, and a lot of consumer knowledge is pushing mezcal sales.
“We are currently the biggest importer in terms of variety of and quantity, and it has become a key part of the sector since we started importing Del Maguey.”
Del Maguey is a single-village mezcal created by artist Ron Cooper that makes a range of organic mezcals from different villages, each with distinctive flavour characteristics.
Richard Ellis, spirits buyer at London retailer Hedonism, has boosted his range to 30 Mezcals in the past year, ranging in price from £30 to £200, and is planning to add another three or four more lines soon.
He said: “Mezcal is able to be a bit more experimental and diverse in terms of flavour profiles because they don’t have to live by the strict regulations that tequila producers do.
“They can use various different types of agave, whereas tequila can only use one. They are creative and push the boundaries — Del Maguey created a mezcal using bellota ham called Ibérico. It is added through the distillation process as you would add a botanical.”
He believes the spirit’s popularity will spread beyond the London on-trade.
“The romance of mezcal is its small-scale production, the hand-made, artisan side of things, and that will ring true wherever you are,” he said.
Bell added: “People are excited to be trying something new that is really high quality. When you have wild agave mezcal you can taste how incredible it is. You can see that it is a very unique style. It is almost entirely for sipping”
Amathus has also seen a surge in sales of Japanese and Scotch whiskies, with Scotch driven by limited edition bottlings.