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Like with Tequila there are many rules that regulate the production of mezcal. The first laws for Mezcal were only put into place in 1994 in article NOM-070-SCFI-1994 which exist to protect the integrity of this traditional spirit. Mezcal is also protected by a denomination of origin or DOM and can only be produced in the following states of Mexico: Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Michoacan, Guerrero, Durango, Tamaulipas, Puebla, Zacatecas and Guanajuato.
Aside from the denomination the other most important of the regulations are the categories of Mezcal: Mezcal, Artisanal Mezcal and Ancestral Mezcal, their differences are explained with each step in production which you can find here.
In Tequila production you may use only one particular species of agave, however for Mezcal you can use any! This gives a Mezcal producer incredible diversity and choice in his/her selection. Another rule is that to be called Mezcal of any category, the bottling can only occur at the palenque at which it is made, to ensure the quality of the end product. Also, the ABV has to be between 36% and 55%.
Last but not least Mezcal can only be made from 100% agave with no additives or other products, whereas the different Tequila categories determine not the production process but the quantity of agave: Tequila (”Mixto”) and 100% agave Tequila.
These rules govern all Mezcal that is produced, however there are many Mexican states that don’t fall under the denomination but might still produce distilates of agave. These are called ‘Aguardiente de Agave’ as they are not allowed to be called Mezcal. Other agave spirits such as Bacanora, Raicilla and Sotol each have their own set of regulations