How it all began
As an adventurer who’s spent the last 20 years on the road, one of the places where I feel like home, no matter where I am, is around a campfire, sipping a drink and sharing stories. Being able to create something that can explore this concept of community and that sense of togetherness that comes when you’re sitting around a fire, whether literal or metaphorical, is rooted in the commitment to one another as fellow species on this planet. And this, we felt, was something really special.
Mezcal is about discovery—it’s not handed to you on a platter. It had this allure to me—the provenance of the plant, its relationship to the ground and the earth, the smokiness, the artisanal craft. As you start to dig, you realize there’s this incredible heritage and story. I feel like there’s something really magical when you’re making the agave and you’re digging that pit, creating that fire, sitting around and waiting for days—the patience inbuilt to the process allows you to really connect. It still fascinates me to the point where I have become somewhat obsessed by it, which is why we find ourselves producing our mezcal today.
Maestro mezcalero Don Fortino
I had a real love for Mexico and its culture, craft, heritage, and the depth of it all. With that inevitably came spending a lot of time there and meeting many friends. I was really touched by Fortino and his family when we met. We had this instant bond. I love the fact that whenever you arrive at Fortino’s, you sit down with the family, you have a meal, and you share stories before you do anything.
If you can work in partnership with Nature, you’ll produce something brilliant. And that’s exactly what Fortino does, because he does it with such intentionality to respect the plant and the craft—it comes from the earth, from his hands, from his mind, his passion, his creativity, his ingenuity, his enthusiasm. We have a shared commitment and we decided that we are going to do something together that is meaningful to both of us.
Curiosity is a human emotion, similar to love or fear. It is fundamental to how we’ve evolved as a species, and it’s the essence that unites mezcal drinkers. Each of our mezcals has a distinct profile and activates this curiosity. One sip and it invites you to search out the story behind the plant and its journey. Some of these agaves have grown for over 10 years, some 12 years, and some of them 25 years. Think about all the stories that a single one of these plants has lived through. When one agave was a seed, what was going on in the world then, and how much time has it had to soak in all this curious energy that’s floating around our planet?
Co-founder Thor Bjorgolfsson
Thor always had a vision for combining business and sustainability. When I first expressed to him this idea of The Lost Explorer Mezcal and what we could do together, he said, “I want to do something where I re-educate myself, where I am constantly learning.” That’s the type of partner that you want to work with. He is somebody who I’ve always admired, his ability to do things differently and not to be afraid to step into the unknown. That’s the true essence of an Explorer—somebody who unlocks their shell that encompasses their understanding and steps into a place that makes them feel uncomfortable. Unlearning is such an important part of how you learn.
Approach to our practice
This story is about creating a sustainable spirit. We need more slowness versus nowness in our lives. It is good to reflect and look at the connectivity between us, Nature, and each other. Making mezcal, you are dealing with Nature’s threshold which makes it really exciting because your frame is created for you. There’s only so much agave and there’s only such a speed that it can grow, so you have to work within the rhythm of Nature.
Our challenge and opportunity is to show that you can build a sustainable business that respects the craft, the culture, the people, the planet and bring this all together to be shared collectively through our community, whether you are someone who’s supplying in any step of this intricate process, someone who’s helping us cultivate and actually make the mezcal, or somebody who is part of the wider community, sipping the beautiful narrative of mezcal. Our enthusiasm and intentionality to not only produce something that’s good for consuming but is also good for the planet flows throughout the whole company.
For me, when I sip mezcal, I always feel like the mezcal is the drop of rain onto a desert. As soon as the liquid hits inside your spirit, it suddenly unlocks everything. It pushes away all the negative trappings of modernity with its evocative, beautiful sort of energy. It comes from the earth and brings you back to the earth in full cycle, and leaves you warm as the fire that the piña was cooked on.