Los Magos founders

INTERVIEW: Los Magos Sotol Founders Embrace Rich History of Its Modern Spirit

Photo courtesy of Los Magos

As the co-founders of the Mexican sotol brand Los Magos, Juan Pablo Carvajal and Eduardo Almanza are on a mission to give their customers a modern spirit that captures the “magical expression of the rich community and culture of Chihuahua,” Mexico – their hometown.

“Sotol has a very long history starting with the plant being used by the people who are native to this land,” Carvajal told Remezcla during a recent interview. “It’s been an integral part of the lives of the people who live mostly in the rural areas of Chihuahua. It’s very ingrained in our traditions.”

Some of the uses of the sotol plant over thousands of years include weaving its leaves into baskets and sandals and infusing it with herbs and fruits to make medicinal home remedies.

“Ranchers and farmers up in the mountains of Chihuahua [and] out in the desert herding cattle would use this plant and turn it into those magical potions,” Carvajal said. “Some people would even infuse it with rattlesnake.”

The authentic flavor of sotol is why the indigenous people of Chihuahua began to ferment it 800 years ago for consumption as an alcohol beverage. There are even archaeological sites where cooking holes for roasting the sotol plant are found.

That rich history is one of the driving forces behind Los Magos Sotol, which is 100% organic. Carvajal and Almanza have embraced the roots of sotol and respect the history and craftsmanship of those sotol makers who harvested the wild plant in the Chihuahuan desert before them.

“There’s not a lot of green lushness in the desert,” Almanza said. “Sotol is a discovery of what’s in the desert. It’s a very interesting ecosystem and very different from southern Mexico or the jungle around Veracruz or central Mexico. The Chihuahuan desert is something that’s magical.”

Carvajal and Almanza also care deeply about the ecosystem. Los Magos Sotol is committed to the sustainability of their eco-friendly business and have adopted production practices that avoid impacting the Chihuahuan environment negatively. This includes “never harvesting more than 40% of the sotol plants and leaving a portion of the roots and leaves,” so the plants can regrow.

“We went into this project with sustainability in mind,” Carvajal said. “We had to [harvest sotol] responsibly. It’s something we always have on our minds – how to make sure that when the industry grows, it allows for other industries to grow beside it. It’s not only our ecosystem, it’s also our people.”

The natives of Chihuahua are what make Los Magos Sotol so special. That’s why the brand is also focused on “supporting the people who make it all possible through fair trade and fair wages that raise the bar for farming and manufacturing practices.” This is done through the Los Magos Foundation where a percentage of each bottle sold is invested back into local healthcare, education, and access to technology.

“We wanted to build a stronger community and give people a better way of life,” Carvajal said. “We hope our efforts can have a positive impact not only where we live, but also where we do business.”

To learn more about Los Magos, go here