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Cuentacuentos Agave Spirits

What would a brand of mezcal look like if the brand got out of the way of tradition and let the art of agave spirit making shine through? This is the guiding thought behind Cuentacuentos Legacy Agave Spirits line.

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What would a brand of mezcal look like if the brand got out of the way of tradition and let the art of agave spirit making shine through? This is the guiding thought behind Cuentacuentos Legacy Agave Spirits line.

I conceived of this project in 2015, spent three years learning Spanish, learning about agave spirits production, meeting the mezcal makers, industry leaders, and governmental officials whom I knew I would need to make the project happen. I made one rule, that to this day I have not broken: Say “yes” to every conversation or meeting offered. That rule has paid big dividends. The reason it works is that when you don’t know what you don’t know, you need someone to tell you what you don’t know.

 In 2018, the first pallet of Cuentacuentos hit the market in Colorado and was a success. Today, the company has grown to include El Barro, our well mezcal, Tso’ok Oaxacan Rum, and we will soon add Tzotol Oaxacan sotol (cucharilla). We have completed a successful crowdfunding raise, and will be opening a second round offering soon. 

Will the company succeed? What does success look like? Are we already successful? I’m mindful of the notion that order is created slowly, incrementally, and at great pains, while chaos strikes suddenly and catastrophically. This is why I took three years to set the company foundation. Nothing worth doing happens over night.

Cuentauentos can now be found in some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants, bars, and stores. And we continue to grow.


Years Working


US States





Conceived and discussed over many a mezcal de la casa, this product is designed to beat all other well mezcals in taste and value. To accomplish this, we start with copper ordinario and do the second distillation in clay. This product led my production partner, Carlos Mendez, and I  to install four clay stills in Santiago Matatlán–to our knowledge, the first of their kind in this copper-dominant town. We knock the competition out of the well with a simple taste comparison. We also have a marketing proposal that makes the product so appealing it’s almost unfair.

Today, we have 10 additional stills installed in San Dionisio Ocotepec and are preparing to install more. Click below to find out more about this product, which is as innovative as it is delicious.

Listed #31 on VinePair’s Top 50 Spirits of 2023.

“The cream of an exciting crop of Mexican — and Oaxacan, in particular — rums we sampled in 2023”

Read the associated VinePair review.

Made in the Sierra Mixe cloud forest by the indigenous Mixe people, this agricole-style rum is perhaps the hardest-to-procure spirit on the market anywhere.

Tso'ok Joven

Exactly as it comes off the still, tuned down from about 54 to 49% ABV for consistency, we now buy Tso’ok from four separate producers in the region.

Tso'ok Reposado

Another accident, Carlos was gifted eight new barrels from Mersault, France (Burgundy region), of medium toast head. Now, just as the Spanish used to do, we run a solera and pull half of the aged spirit off every six months and refill with joven.

Tso'ok Rum is an Adventure

The thing I love most about this project is that it all came together by accident. Or at least it demonstrated the old dictum that “fortune favors the prepared.” Carlos and I rolled up to one of his palenques on Labor Day, 2019 (May 1 in Mexico) to bring the music, beer, mezcal, and food to his employees. I soon discovered that a group of them were commuting from the Sierra Mixe, which I knew to be about 4-5 hours out of town. Amazed at their weekly commute, I asked why they didn’t make mezcal in the mountains. They explained that they had rum, but only enough to serve themselves. I asked them to bring samples the following week, which they did.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit soon thereafter, and Carlos checked in on the Mixes, who had begun selling their rum as base for hand sanitizer. We asked them to sell to us, they refused, saying the buyer for hand sanitizer was enough, so we double the price they were getting and they suddenly agreed it would be better consumed as a beverage. Acquiring this rum is a 15 hour day in itself. Read about it on the Tso’ok website.

Sotol, er... I mean Cucharilla

Carlos texted me out of the blue:

And that’s how this product came to be. Watch for it some time in 2024.

Older Projects

A Word About Cannabis

I suppose I can’t have personal website without mentioning cannabis. I hate bragging, but a list of accomplishments may inevitably look like bragging. So be it. My dispensary, The Bud Depot, was the second in Colorado to be granted a license. It still is located in Lyons, CO, although I sold it in late 2012. It later went on to sell for a lot of money to the current owners. It is only in Lyons, CO, through the efforts of my employees and I, who fought the good fight and destroyed a ballot measure to eliminate MJ from Lyons in November of 2012. We won that battle 60% to 40%.

In 2013, I went to Oaxaca, spent a few weeks recovering from the emotional upheaval of the political battle, and while I was there I wrote a bestselling marijuana home grower’s manual. You can check it out on Amazon here and I also released a short, nuts-and-bolts-only version, here. The point of the book is to explain horticulture to newbies. It was more successful than I imagined it would be, and it’s past time to put out a second edition.



But what I do in the cannabis industry to get paid is help people through the licensing process. I discuss this a little bit on my services page.

It’s a complicated process and it must be done quickly and perfectly. To be approved, you have to provide the issuing state with a lot of plans: cultivation, processing, dispensary, security, site, financial, community outreach, diversity, packaging, and transportation–to name just a few of the required plans. I am known for winning these licenses.

If you want to retain me, contact Canna Advisors and ask for my help. I’d be glad to assist.

Dietary Supplements

In 1997, a few years out of graduate school, my brother and I–me in Pittsburgh, he in Palo Alto–decided to launch a dietary supplements company online. The World Wide Web was new, and I was sitting right next to the brains at Carnegie Mellon (where many search engines, including Google, were devised), while my brother was at the site of the first WWW servers. This was an exciting time. There was a nascent sense of limitless possibility, and the people we were rubbing elbows with went on to do incredible things. Long story short, we ran our Dotcom company from 1997–2004, and sold it for a handsome profit.

Sea Kayaking with Orcas

From 1994 through 1997 my brother and I ran a sea kayaking company out of Telegraph Cove, British Colombia. THAT was a great time. Didn’t make much money, but I learned to never make your avocation your vocation. And I learned quiet a bit about orcas, tidal navigation, survival, potlatches, fishing, and how the Kwakwaka’wakw Indians live.