Year 1

A bit behind schedule (let’s call it Mexico time) but here is a quick summary of 2018: our first year of sales.

January sales got off to a strong start with listings at Dandelyan (No.1 at World’s 50 Best Bars 2018) and Happiness Forgets (Best International Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2018), two of our all-time favourite bars.

In February we had some award success in The Spirits Business Tequila & Mezcal Masters. Pensador was awarded a “Master Award” – their highest accolade – beating all other mezcal entries.

April brought the next headline listing at The American Bar at The Savoy – a bar steeped in cocktail history that has managed to remain at the top of its game (No.1 at World’s 50 Best Bars 2017). We also had our first experience of event sponsorship, stocking the bar at the opening of Cornerstone Restaurant (Best Newcomer at the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2018).

Come May and it was time to return to Oaxaca to help bottle batches A2 and A3. We were lucky enough to spend over five weeks in this beautiful part of the world, much of which was spent living and working at the Palenque. It was great to have an opportunity to bond further with our producers and get a taste of their lives in Miahuatlan. In addition to bottling we had some time to explore the state and scope out potential new releases. More news on this soon.

Early July we found ourselves back in London for a hectic couple of days – a weekend spent running a secret mezcal bar at 24hr music festival, followed immediately by two days on a stall at Imbibe Live. Somehow we still found the energy to watch England in their first ever successful World Cup penalty shoot-out. It was emotional.

In a sweltering August we received our second award – a “Silver Outstanding” in the IWSC 2018 – the highest scoring mezcal in the competition and joint second in the entire agave category. We also lined up our first export market – to The Lebanon via importer distributors Gabriel Bocti Sal. Pretty soon we were getting fan posts from night clubs in Beirut. Who’d of thought it?

September was agave season in London with London Mezcal Week and The Tequila Mezcal Fest. We contributed to both events and had a great time spreading the agave love. Such a great time that we completely drained our stocks. Batch A1 was over.  

Luckily batches A2 and A3 arrived early October, which gave us the opportunity to run our first solo event – The Batch A2 Launch Party – hosted by our good friends Sin Gusano at their bar in Haggerston. The event was a great success, beginning with Afro-tacos and £1 singles and ending with rowdy garage bangers and a Donald Trump Pinata. We went through 31 bottles of Pensador.

November was spent gearing up to Christmas. We opened new retail accounts at Harrods and Fortnum and Masons, and hit a peak of no. 1 top selling mezcal on masterofmalt.com.

Finally, we rounded off the year with a couple of parties. A raucous night of Loteria (Mexican bingo) back at Sin Gusano with Pensador prizes all round, followed swiftly by a Christmas throwdown at The Mezcal Bar featuring potent mezcal margaritas and a huge subwoofer. It was merry.      

Many thanks to everyone who’s supported the brand so far. Hold tight for news updates for 2019. Its going to be a big one.    

Ben Schroder