20 + Niki Nakazawa & Leonardo Comercio
Neta Spirits / PM Spirits
We have two guests with us for this installment of the pod. Niki Nakazawa co-founder of the Agave Spirits Brand NETA and Leonardo Comercio of PM Spirits, an importer and distributor of small-production distillates made by artisan distillers from around the world.
Niki has lived in Mexico for the past 12 ½ years and has been involved in several culinary and spirits driven projects. In this conversation, we learn how Niki fell in love with agave spirits early on in her life and how her friendship with Max Rosenstock led them to bring Neta to the US market.
We discuss how Max and Niki have built and developed their relationship with the cooperative of producers they work with called Grupo Productor Logoche from Logoche, in Lachigüizo which is a town outside of Miahautlan, Oaxaca. The group is composed of immediate and extended family who are mezcaleros and agave growers.
Leo tells how he was introduced to the brand and how PM came to import Neta, which is bottled as an agave spirit. We discuss PM Spirits' commitment to sourcing artisanal handcrafted spirits from around the world and their philosophy on how they build their portfolios.
Finally, we touched on the different expressions Neta offers and specific production practices that make these spirits very special indeed.
Articles and links
1. The vivero (agave nursery)
2. The Logoche bottling facility with members of the cooperative
4. The horno in the early morning light
5., 6., 7. The method of loading the maguey into the horno begins with laying out maguey pencas (agave leaves) before loading the maguey on top to roast (they will then cover the maguey with spent dampened fiber from a former production, palm mats and dirt to capture the heat - not shown here)
8. Co-founder Niki Nakazawa (photo credit: Sam Feather)
9. Co-founder Max Rosenstock (photo credit: Sam Feather)
Below are different varieties of A. karwinskii found in the region of Miahuatlán we are including the common names associated with them that Niki and Max provided.
11. Cuixe verde (capón) and "de guia"
14. Cuixe verde (photo credit: Eric Burg)
15. Tobaziche with its quiote
16. Young tobaziche pencas (leaves)
17. Cuixe verde
+ All images courtesy of Neta Spirits unless otherwise noted
Lorena Terán Ibarra is the director of Copita Project for El Buho Mezcal where she leads the regenerative agriculture and educational programs.
Initiated by the founders of El Buho, the Copita Project seeks to replenish and preserve the balance of the natural environment while planting cultivated and semi-cultivated agaves.