Alvin should be responding soon m. He is very knowledgeable and he runs mescal Tours.
I would recommend going to see Mezcal Real Minero in Santa Catarina Minas. They distill in claypots, have an incredible sustainable agave cultivation program in place and make great mezcal. It's only about 50 minutes from Oaxaca City.
You can take a colectivo or taxi to Santiago Matatlán where there are over 100 different palenques where you can sample for free, get a tour (assuming you understand some Spanish because not all places have someone who speaks English there all the time), and buy for very reasonable prices if you are inclined. If you do not buy, I would be inclined to leave a gratuity. Those who distill in clay tend to charge a fair bit of money for their products relative to in copper, because of the higher labour involved. Almost everyone in Matatlán distills in copper, If you go to just a single palenque the likelihood of seeing most stages of production is fairly low, unless it is a place designed for tourists, but by going to several in for example Matatlán you have a reasonable probability of seeing it all, but it does take time. You can visit Mezcal del Amigo (Enrique Jiménez), Rey Zapoteco, Mezcal La Curva, in that order through the town the first as you enter. But there are many, many from which to choose not only on the main drag. Alternatively, someone recently posted that Mezcal Don Agave on the highway close to the rug village Teotitlán del Valle does a very good extensive tour, and that reply was in response I think to a question similar to yours, that is someone not wanting to spend a lot of time. You can't miss it, on the right side of the highway en route to Tlacolula, Mitla and Matatlán, I think right at the entrance to Teotitlán de Valle. My only concern about some of these places is pressure to buy by some of the people who do the tours, not suggesting this is the case with any of the foregoing, though. An idea might be to hire a taxi or driver for the day and have him take you to the tree, the rug village, Mitla, etc, and stop at one of the places such as Don Agave along the side of the highway ..... but it will not lead to an in depth education, but might be just what you want. Good luck, and enjoy.
Alvin Starkman - Mezcal Educational Excursions of Oaxaca
Do you still do mezcal tours? I am visiting in March and my wife and I both love mezcal. We were looking for a more experienced mezcal tour and everything I have seen so far points to you being the most experienced mezcal guide in Oaxaca. When the time comes, we would be looking for a full day, or maybe two, of exploring mezcal, craft beer, and food, in the area.
Also, do you still run a B&B?
we r in town & would like to go on a mezcal tour in the next couple of days. R U available ? or can u recommend thank you
Send me a private message right away.
4 of us are looking to do a mescal tour with English guide. We only have tomorrow preferably early as possible. Are we able to book?