Santa Ana del Rio

Santa Ana is tiny: 371 inhabitants. The Alipús destilería belongs to the Hernández Melchor family. Th e distiller is Eduardo Hernandez.

Santa Ana is at 4000 feet, but many of the local agaves are grown higher up. The soils are light-colored sandy shale. Eduardo ferments in tall slender pine vats. His mezcals are clean, balanced, fruity, and delicate. He once told me he can tell what’s going on inside the still by looking at the thin stream of clear distillate.

The Iglesia
The Municipio
The Cimiteria

The destilería is across the river.

2009, getting ready to bring Alipús to the USA.

Eduardo’s father (left) brought the first stone mill to Santa Ana. Before that, they used canoas.

The horno, tidier than many.

the Santa Ana tinas.

Holding down the top of the still.

As fresh as mezcal gets.

At another palenque, on the way into town.

Photographs by Katherine Lewis