About us

The Mezcal Institute was created to promote global awareness of Mezcal, while supporting Mezcaleros/as, Palenques, and their surrounding communities in the preservation and protection of the heritage of Mexico’s most emblematic distilled spirit. It is our intent to help sustain the 125,000 Mexican families whose livelihoods depend on Mezcal production.

Our goal is to preserve the long-term success and growth of the Mezcal industry, through the application of best practices in the spirits industry including fair trade, gender equality, and sustainable agricultural and production practices.

Our team

Karla Espinoza

Chief Executive Officer
Karla Espinoza is a Senior Marketing Executive with extensive experience in event planning and execution. She is currently the marketing lead and digital content specialist for the SME Finance Forum, a part of the International Finance Corporation. Previously, she coordinated the execution of a technical climate change program for the Inter-American Development Bank. Karla has also led marketing strategies for global corporations such as Mexicana Airlines, Aeromexico, and Club Med Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a master's degree in Business Economics from The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, as well as a master's degree in International Business from Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. Karla resides in Virginia, USA with her family and enjoys supporting social causes and trying new restaurants in her spare time.

Francisco González-Cos

Mayahuel Ambassador of the Mezcal Institute
Francisco is the Mezcal Institute’s Mayahuel Ambassador for the United Kingdom, Scotland and Ireland, whose role is to promote Mezcal appreciation to his local community. With an international banking background, Francisco has always had an interest in the local spirits from the countries in which he has lived. His role enables him to rediscover and share knowledge about this traditional beverage from his own native Mexico. Francisco has an Industrial Engineering Degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Masters of Business Administration from Hult International Business School.

Ignacio Llano Irusta

Mayahuel Ambassador of the Mezcal Institute
Based in Spain, Ignacio the Mezcal Institute’s Mayahuel Ambassador for Spain and Portugal. His role is to promote Mezcal appreciation to his local community. With an international career in information technology Ignacio also managed to earn a Master in Wine and Spirits demonstrating his passion for Mezcal. His role allows him to apply his own formal spirits education while reconnecting with the Mexican culture and traditions with which he was raised. Ignacio also has an Industrial Engineering degree from Universidad Panamericana and a Masters in Business Administration from IESE University of Navarra.

Pilar Jordán

Chief Operations Officer
Based in Mexico City, Pilar is the Chief Operations Officer for the Mezcal Institute. Her various roles involve administration, events coordination, planning, and strategic operation of the several activities the Institution is involved in. With a degree in Graphic Communications Design, and Diploma courses in Administration and Marketing, she has also learned about Mezcal origins and production process, which have caught her interest and passion for enabling the Institute to achieve its goals in promoting this ancient spirit.

Cynthia Villalobos

Mayahuel Ambassador of the Mezcal Institute
A Chemical Engineer, Master in Business Administration and Management and Master in Food Safety, besides being Mayahuel Ambassador of the Mezcal Institute, based in Oaxaca. Entrepreneur by nature, since January 2016 she is a founding partner of "My Team Says", a company dedicated to training and consulting in administrative processes, since February 2015 a founding partner of "Aventureros del Mezcal", a social enterprise focused on promoting the culture of Mezcal and fair payment and recognition to maestros Mezcaleros and since July 2010 a founding partner in the company Servicios Alimentarios, dedicated to the training and regulation of food companies and research projects.