Tucson, AZ--- There are festivals and then there is the Agave Heritage Festival which is in a category of its own. The enriching and interactive four-day event dedicated to agave and the southwest’s relationship to Mexico and the great Sonoran Desert region, offers a unique perspective into the flavors and traditions of regional and heritage foods and spirits.  Now in its 16th year, the festival has reached new heights, with over 55 events packed into just 4 days, among them five incredible dining opportunities, 12 guided tasting workshops, a carne asada celebration and seminar, and countless opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in the ever-expanding world of the agave.


They say the Sonoran Desert region is a food forest for many reasons. The Agave Heritage Festival offers the ideal opportunity to find out why,  Over 4 days and 5 nights guests can enjoy unique and delicious dinners featuring special guest chefs, a James Beard Award winning baker, a taste of all six regions of Mexico and fund-raising gala dinner and of course mezcal neat pours and remarks from the industry’s best and most influential!” said Festival director Todd Hanley


Tickets for all events and menus for the dinners listed below are available at  https://www.agaveheritagefestival.com/ 



Festival dinners are the best way to explore the world of flavors of the borderlands and beyond. 

Participating chefs work closely with agave spirit experts to create memorable dining experiences. 

Tucson Students in the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) will  provide support for  the following events.

April 18, 5:30 -8pm - Seis Heritage Dinner

Dine al fresco while Seis Chef/owner Jacob Munoz prepares a regional Mexican multi-course dinner served with curated agave spirits and cocktail pairings from Don Julio. Dinner courses include Guacamole, Poached Shrimp Tostada, Guajillo braised Short Rib, and Mango gelato.

April 19, 6-9:30pm - Maynards Kitchen Regional Cuisine and Culinary Collective Dinner

Maynards Culinary Collective, guest Chef Dr. Mae Hey and Don Guerra of Barrio Bread and the Center for Regional Food Studies will collaborate on the epicurean experience of the year featuring a six-course menu highlighting regional and local ingredients accompanied with mezcal neat and cocktails.  The dinner includes remarks from brand experts on the history and craft of agave spirits.  Dr. Hey, Don Guerra and a representative from the Center for Regional Food Studies will speak about the history of agave around food, fiber, beverage, and culture.  Dr Hey serves Virginia Tech as an Assistant Professor, a Faculty Fellow for their Office of Inclusion and Diversity, Faculty Affiliate for their Food Studies Program, and a Faculty Fellow for their Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation and more.


April 21, 6-9pm – Tequila Casahuin Heritage Dinner at the Historic Coronet Restaurant

Guests will be enchanted as they enter The Coronets' magical 160-year-old property where they will be greeted with a signature cocktail, passed appetizers, and a warm welcome from Chef Fleming and Proprietor Sally Kane. The four-course main dinner takes place under the stars, where the guests will enjoy the tequila neat to truly experience the supreme craftsmanship from the heart of Jalisco.  Tequila Cascahuin is one of the highest-regarded producers in the Tequila Valley.



April 21, 5pm-9pm - Howard Scott Gentry Lifetime Achievement Award and Gala Dinner at JW Starr Pass Marriott Hotel

The Agave Heritage Festival, the Southwest Center, and Borderlands Restoration Network are pleased to present the first annual Howard Scott Gentry Lifetime Achievement Award Gala Dinner and Fundraiser. This celebratory dinner culminates a four-day celebration of the agave plant and its role as a keystone of the borderlands, highlighting the culture, heritage, diversity, and sustainability of this plant and our region. 


The evening will begin with the traditional Starr Pass Tequila Toast on the patio featuring Mezcal Vago. Local chefs will collaborate with agave industry experts to present a multi-course tapas style dinner utilizing regional and heritage ingredients.  Each course will be paired with agave spirit cocktails or neat pours featuring Tequila Ocho.

This inaugural event pays homage to botanist Howard Scotty Gentry and his lifetime of achievements as the world's leading authority on the agave. Future events will honor others who have shown their dedication to the culture of agave and/or environmental restoration, awareness, and protection. 




Led by industry experts, guided tastings are the best way to fully experience the world of mezcal.

April 18, 8:30-10pm – Crisol Bar Presents: Natalia Toledo Poetry Reading Reception presented by NETA Spirits, Ixcateco, and PM Spirits

Cristol Bar is pleased to host the closing reception for the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona Hannelore Quander-Rattee Works in Translation Reading featuring Natalia Toledo. Representatives from NETA, Ixcateco and PM agave spirits will pour a selection of premiere spirits from the Logoch and Nochixtlan regions of Oaxaca in honor of Toledo’s reading. Guests who bring a copy of their poetry center ticket stub will get half off their first mezcal pour or flight.  


April 19, 4:30-5:30 pm - Tooley's Cafe Presents: Cata con Mujer Agave

This tasting features three icons of the Oaxacan mezcal world for a one-night-only tasting. Join Sandra Ortiz Brenna of In Situ mezcaleria and Mezcaciarca mezcal, Graciela Angeles Carreño Mezcal Real Minero, and Silvia Philion of Mezcaloteca as they guide guests through an intimate exploration of some of their favorite bottlings. Tasting will include a sampling of two mezcals from three brands - six samples in total. Mujer Agave is a collective of women in the agave spirits industry where unity, legacy and joy are taught through diverse conferences and experiences. It is geared toward empowering and connecting female stakeholders in the agave industry across disciplines.

This workshop is included with the purchase of a ticket to the Mujer Agave Workshop on April 19 from 1-5pm at Tooleys Cafe.


April 19, 7-8 pm “Guardianes del Espiritu” Film Screening at MOCA 8-9pm Mezcal Origen Raíz Tasting at Bar Cristol

This very special event is a screening of the documentary Guardianes del Espiritu, a new documentary about traditional mezcal production and its role in rural Mexican society. Directly following the screening, Bar Crisol will host a tasting and discussion with filmmaker Alberto Peschard along with Bildo Saravia and Asis Cortez of Mezcal Origen Raíz. This spirited journey follows the footsteps of impassioned mezcaleros, revealing the intricate process of cultivating the revered agave plants, harvested with time-honored techniques passed down through generations. Beyond the craft, "Guardianes del Espíritu" delves into the vibrant communities where mezcal is not just a drink but a way of life. Through intimate interviews with master mezcaleros and locals, the film unveils the stories of resilience, tradition, and the symbiotic relationship between the land and its people.

April 20, 2-3:30 pm – Crisol Bar Presents: Spirits of Northern Mexico Tasting Mexico’s northern states are still not as squarely on the agave spirits map as, say, Oaxaca and Jalisco.  Yet the borderlands area presents many distinct traditions and a wealth of mezcal diversity.  Join Luis Loya of Lamata, Omhar Acuña of Los Cantiles 1905, and the Encinas family of Batuq to learn about the history, geography, botany, and current production of bacanora, palmilla, lechuguilla, and other distillates in the Mexican North. A tasting will accompany.


April 21, 6-7:30 pm – AHF-Crisol Bar Presents: A Sotol Tasting

Cristol Bar welcomes sotol activists Sandro Canovaz and Ohmar Acuna of Los Cantiles 1905 for a tasting and discussion surrounding sotol’s heritage and production. Derived from the Dasylirion genus (aka Desert Spoon), Sotol is not an agave spirit but it neighbors agave spirits in its similar production methods, Sotol’s denomination of origin embraces three Mexican states – Chihuahua, Coahuils and Durgango as well as other northern stages including Sonora, It is sometimes called “the spirit of the desert”.  In recent years, the rise of sotol in spirit markets has raised questions about its future sustainability.


April 21, 8-9 pm - Crisol Bar Presents: Maestros del Mezcal Blind Tasting

Please join Crisol Bar as they host Hugo Gonzales of Maestros del Mezcal and Of Spine & Vine Imports as he conducts an exciting blind tasting of 5 Maestros del Mezcal expressions. Participants should have their palates primed as there will be a competitive element to this tasting!  All the mezcal made by members of Maestros del Mezcal is considered traditional mezcal; that is to say, it is produced in a traditional manner without the use of special yeasts of accelerants. The only ingredients used are agave, water, work and love.


April 20 – 7-10 pm – Agave Fiesta on the Plaza at the HIstoric Hotel Congress

This annual signature event brings it all together in one evening under the stars on the plaza at Hotel Congress. It is the ultimate showcase for all things agave with over 50 artisanal and ancestral mezcals and an agave cocktail showcase. Enjoy live music by Mama Coal, agave spirit tastings along with some delectable, perfectly paired food prepared by the Cup Café Culinary team food, agave art, and presentations by industry experts. The ticket includes 1 beer sample, 4 neat pours, 2 cocktail samples, and paired food from the Cup Café culinary team.



April 18, 10 am to 2:30 pm - Spirit of Sonora Cultural Expo & Celebration at the Temple of Music and Art Water Conservation and Agriculture for a Resilient Borderlands

Presented by Flowers and Bullets, Sonoran Institute, Southwest Folklife Alliance, Cox Communications and Businesses for Water Stewardship, and moderated by Michael Zenner of the Sonoran Institute, this event Features a morning of important discourse around the past, present and future of culture, conservation, community, and knowledge for an equitable and prosperous future for everyone. Topics will include water resources, bio piracy, heirloom plants and seeds and more. Details TBA.


April 21, 11 am-3 pm - Spirit of Sonora Community Carne Asada Fiesta at Flowers & Bullets Midtown Farm

Join Flowers & Bullets Farm, Agave Heritage Festival and the greater Tucson Community in celebrating the special connection agave and community have to our borderlands and Mexico.  This cross-cultural community celebration highlights the newly purchased Mid Town Farm by Flowers and Bullets along with their commitment to creating outlets for under-served youth and communities through sharing skills, promoting placed-based connections, and telling stories around the ways of life in the Barrio Centro Community.  This Spirit of Sonora Community Fiesta includes live music from the Acuna’s, Bacanora spirit samples, tours of the farm, local artisan vendors, food vendors, and lively discussions on the future of our region through the lens of the agave plant.


About the Agave Heritage Festival

The Agave: In the seventeenth century, Francisco Ximénez described its centrality. “Of no other plant,” he wrote in his Historia Natural of 1615, “is there such abundance in New Spain. If people would learn to live in moderation and balance, as is reasonable, this plant would be sufficient to supply all human needs...”

The mission of the Agave Heritage Festival, now in its 16th year, is to create an opportunity to all who are interested in continuing to explore and celebrate the cultural, sustainable, and commercial significance of the agave across borders. Founded in 2008, the Tucson based Agave Heritage Foundation has grown to include the ever-expanding exploration and uses of the Agave plant in its many forms. The festival has since become a city-wide destination event that spotlights the southwest region through the lens of the agave plant. The Agave Heritage Festival celebrates the unique importance and sustainability of the agave plant and borderlands culture with seminars, tasting events and world-class culinary events. For the complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit agaveheritagefestival.com. @agaveheritagefestival #agaveheritagefestival.