US-based owner of global wine, spirits and beer brands Prestige Beverage Group has added Mezcal Nucano to its portfolio and will introduce the artisanal spirit brand to the US market from April.

Mezcal Nucano is created using traditional techniques. The plant agave is harvested by hand and then roasted in a conical earth oven for five days and the resulting mixture is pressed using a stone wheel pulled by a horse. The liquid is then fermented in wooden barrels using wild yeast then twice distilled in a small copper pot heated directly over a wood fire.

Three expressions of the spirit are produced. Nucano Espadín Anejo is aged for three to five years in the wooden barrel and is of medium density and has an ochre colour. It has a rich aroma primarily composed of cherry, fig and cranberry with hints of cashew, vanilla and caramel. The alcohol by volume (ABV) of the Anejo expression is 40% and it has a suggested retail price of $60 per 750ml bottle.

Nucano Espadín Joven has a medium density and is clear in colour. It is highly fragrant with notes of vanilla and almond and has a subtle smoky flavour with a suggested retail price of $45 per 750ml and 45% ABV.

The third expression is Nucano Espadín Reposado, which is matured for 12 months in wood barrels and has a light density, giving it a golden yellow colour. It has a 38% ABV and will retail at $50. The main fragrant notes are pineapple, citrus and jasmine. The brand says this product pairs well with cheese, green salads or ceviches, a traditional Peruvian raw seafood dish.

Prestige Beverage Group senior spirits brand manager Dan Whitmore said: “We couldn’t be more excited to take part in introducing traditionally crafted mezcal to American audiences. Nucano is the perfect addition to any craft cocktail aficionado’s rotation.”

The brand’s name is inspired by folklore stories from the Oaxaca region where it is produced. Nucano was the name of an indigenous warrior from the Mixtec tribe who fell in love with Princess Donají of a rival tribel, the Zapotec. In the name of love, Nucano sought to bring peace and unity to the two Mexican nations.

Mezcal, like Tequila, is made from agave, a succulent plant native to Mexico and the Southwestern US. What differentiates Tequila and Mezcal is the type of agave they are each produced from and the roasting process.

Mezcal is experiencing rapid growth with shipments to the US quadrupling over the past year. Future Market Insights forecast that by 2023 more than $840m worth of the spirit will be consumed worldwide, representing a 17.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

The only three expressions of Mezcal are Joven, Anejo and Reposado. The Joven product dominates the Mezcal market; the spirit acquires four fifths of its value through revenues from Mescal Joven. The Resposado expression is expected to see a slower CAGR than Anejo and Joven, but sales are predicted to reach $100m in revenues by 2023.