President, Caballeros Inc.
For 15 years, Mr. French was a textile yarn and fabric designer, manufacturer and wholesale distributer in Menlo Park, California. His company moved 200 tons of textile machinery to Oaxaca in 1988, to join forces with his mother’s hand-weaving cottage industry program. They were successful for several years until the NAFTA free trade agreement became law. This agreement bankrupted 75% of all Mexican factories in all industries, including their factory. Of course all the manufacturing jobs disappeared and the work force migrated to the USA in hopes of finding work.
Mr. French changed careers to Mezcal production in 1995, staying in Oaxaca and joining Encantado Mezcal to represent owner Carl Domani. In charge of logistics, production and quality control, Mr. French soon moved on as there was little demand for Mezcal.
He then created his first plantation of agave in Oaxaca. In 1996 he designed his own brand, El Señor Mezcal at a small artisanal distillery outside of Oaxaca City, with a Zapotec distiller, from whom he learned the art of traditional mezcal production. This eventually evolved into the factory producing the SCORPION MEZCAL brand in 2000.
Mr. French formed Caballeros, Inc., his import and national distribution company, with Vice President Barbara Sweetman in the USA in 2004.
The DENOMINATION OF ORIGIN for MEZCAL became law in 2005 when he immediately registered as a producer. This law allows for several varieties of agave plants to be used in the making of mezcal; about 28 varieties are identified at this point. He currently grows 5 varieties in 50 acres of his own plantations and has been developing seed banks and nurseries for these and other exotic agave varieties, to increase the wide selection of wonderful tasting mezcals for the growing sophisticated market.
Mr. French now exports 12 brands of mezcal to 11 countries around the world and expects this activity to increase. In the USA, under Barbara’s sales management, Caballeros Inc. delivers mezcal to approximately 30 states and that list is growing fast.