Page 5

Business Spotlight:

May 17 - 23, 2018 ~ The Villager ~ Page 5

Artisan Mezcal

Tina Dillon

Laika Spirits is importing spirits created by small, traditional producers from the Northern region of Chihuahua to the Southern region of Oaxaca, Mexico now available in 10 States in the U.S. Pictured: Cruz De Fuego Mezcal 100% Espadin, the bartender’s choice for sipping and craft cocktails.

By Anna Hagley

Mackenzie Shults, CoFounder of Laika Spirits, is a Chautauqua County native now living in Chicago, Illinois. Shults, together with her husband, is on a mission to develop the world’s most robust authentic collection of spirits native to Mexico. Laika Spirits is a duallyfocused company, with one concentration being on importing brands into the US from Mexico, and the other on developing brands from the ground up. For these reasons, they are considered a brand incubator of sorts, as they venture into the colorful, diverse states of Mexico to discover the most talented and gifted maestors, or master distillers,, and foster brands that have a potential to make a difference for the U.S. market as well as for the originating area of the spirit. The spirits they are importing are simply special. Created in small communities and not with fancy gadgets, they are crafted with artisanal and historically used methods, utilizing nature, patience and cultural wisdom for spirits unlike any available to the U.S. before. The spirits taste pallet whispers notes of seasonal flavors, long-forgotten distilling methods and bottle-to-bottle variations that can only be

Within a few months they will be the first importer of an uncertified line of mezcal, known as Tuxca, which has already gained the attention of Master Sommeliers and high profile people across the alcohol industry. This collection of uncertified spirits, under the brand name Balancán, will stay true to Laika’s core mission to curate a collection that is authentic. Another lesser known variety of destilados from Mexico are sotol. While the production process is the same, the sotol plant is more plentiful, as they grow wild, gracing grounds across Mexico, Texas, Nevada and Arizona. They are also more sustainable, blooming 3-5 times in their lifespan as opposed to agave plants only blooming once. Laika Spirit’s tequila line is known by the name Trianon. Their mezcal is dubbed Cruz De Fuego and their line of sotol is Flor Del Desierto. Evans Liquor Store is one local place you can be sure to see some of these spirits grace the shelves. With each of the brands they import and develop, they embrace the communities of origin via expressing their cultural uniqueness on the packaging. You will notice, for example, the one of a kind look of Cruz De Fuego, the only spirit currently available that is wrapped with love in fabric labels, honoring the rich textile traditions of Oaxaca, Mexico. This mezcal is produced by a mother-son team, important because in areas of economic disparity such as this particular area, the women in the communities are found to be much more likely to spend the income on education, health and family, which helps break the cycles of poverty on a community level. Mezcal is nothing short of an experience. Not to be hurriedly drank, but rather savored and sipped. Shults and her team with Laika Spirits honors the cultural and bio diversity of Mexico on their quest to bring the highest quality artisanal spirits to the U.S., and right here to Chautauqua County. To learn more visit

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The 13th annual gathering of geocachers in beautiful Allegany State Park has been published! ASP Geobash XIII will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 8AM to 8PM. The weekend starts on Thursday night when the organizing committee will be hosting an informal “Pizza

30+ Years Experience

& Mountain Pies” event to thank those that help out with setting up the event grounds and to welcome early comers to the park. The annual Meet & Greet Bonfire event hosted by the Allegheny Rangers will be held again on Friday night. There will also be live music on Friday night for those who come early. On Saturday, the ASPGB XII event will take place at Camp Allegany. We have plenty of activities planned. Along with lots of new geocaches it should be a busy weekend. Sunday will be the traditional free pancake

& sausage breakfast to get everyone up and going, and clean up the event grounds. Come and stay the weekend or the day. ASP is beautiful all year ’round, but springtime is an extra special season. The trees, the animals, and the flowers are all things that are part of the GeoBash experience. There are many beautiful spots in the park and it’s no coincidence that there are geocaches loc. in strategic spots all over the park. For more info visit http:// w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / ASPGeobash.


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GeoBash 2018

GeoBash 2018; May 19th at Allegany State Park


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Chautauqua Co. Native Brings High Quality Spirits to the States tasted in such small batch selections. When Laika Spirits finds a producer of destilados de agave, with a product they’re interested in importing, they have a goal of commercializing the product while honoring the traditions of the communities of origin. Contrary to popular belief of tequila being a liquor to “shoot straight” without much thought, tequila is something to savor and appreciate. Laika Spirits, in finding these Mexico community- based products, hopes to change the perception of tequila and artisanal spirits from across Mexico. Importing these spirits won’t only benefit the area they come from by increasing their economic wellbeing, but will also improve the options of U.S. consumers who will now have irreplaceable high quality spirits to enjoy. Some things you should know about destilados de agave: Tequila that consumers are most familiar with is made with the agave plant. Mezcal, a term gaining popularity and common knowledge, is also an agave- based spirit that comes from southern Mexico, including the state of Oaxaca. While tequila has been highly commercialized and regulated it is technically a mezcal, coming from a specific regions and made from a particular species of agave. Mezcal, has a different set of regulations, territories, and can be produced from more than 30 species of agave. There are relatively new certification guidelines in place, preventing some of the smaller producers from referring to their product as mezcal. When enjoying the artisanal spirits imported by Laika Spirits, this is important to remember, as their product portfolio includes spirits from many areas in Mexico that are baking, fermenting and distilling agave, but due to the new regulations, are no longer able to call it mezcal. Laika Spirits holds in high importance the knowledge of crafters that have been making the spirit for generations, even if it means the distillers’ methods or finances prevent certification to call the product mezcal.


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The villager ellicottville may 17 23, 2018 volume 13 issue 21  

A Free Weekly Publication Serving Ellicottville and Surrounding Communities.

The villager ellicottville may 17 23, 2018 volume 13 issue 21  

A Free Weekly Publication Serving Ellicottville and Surrounding Communities.