Susto Mezcal is an Austin-based, majority women-owned mezcal company that is making its first appearance in Texas starting on Thursday, November 1. While the company is headquartered in the city, the mezcal is produced in Oaxaca, Mexico.
The mezcal brand is operated by Grupo Compadres, LLC, which was founded by three families who have been friends for two decades: Liz and Duff Stewart, Ingrid and James Taylor, and Beatriz “Titi” Rodriguez (who lives in Oaxaca). Duff’s name may be familiar as he is CEO of Austin advertising company GSD&M.
Susto’s mezcal is made exclusively with espadín joven agave. Grupo Compadres produces its own mezcal (as opposed to buying from a producer), meaning they had to be certified by the Mezcal Regulatory Council. The company co-owns an artisanal, family-owned mezcal distillery with maestro mezcalero Crispin Perez. The founders also work with the Oaxaca Community Foundation to provide scholarships to local students.
The Spanish word susto means “fear or fright after significant events such as immense loss or natural disasters.” According to folklore, such events require healing by shamans, who end their ritual with an offering of mezcal to the affected.
Susto’s mezcal bottles can be found at retail shops like the Austin Shaker, Davenport Wine & Spirits, and select Twin Liquors locations, as well as at the bars of Austin restaurants like Kome, Red’s Porch, L’Oca D’oro, and Last Straw.