Mezcal and tequila are (mostly) produced in different regions of Mexico. Though some regions can produce either mezcal or tequila, most tequila comes from the state of Jalisco. Most mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca.
Mezcal and Tequila are (mostly) made from different varieties of agave. Tequila is made strictly with the Blue Weber agave, while mezcal can be made with any type of agave. Some say there are over 30 different agave species used in mezcal today, each with it’s own unique flavor and character.
Mezcal and Tequila are (mostly) made using different production processes. Most Tequila producers use industrial ovens to cook their agave, while mezcal producers cook their agave in underground pit ovens. Most Tequila producers use industrial shredders to break up the cooked agave. Most Mezcal producers mill the agave by hand with axes and mallets or with a horse-drawn tahona. Lastly, most Tequila producers use large industrial stills, while most mezcal producers use very small copper or clay stills. A “small batch” of Tequila is around 10,000 liters, while a “small batch” of mezcal could be just 50-100 liters.