Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Giardina and Asis Cortes.
Eric and Asis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Puro Burro was started like all great businesses… sitting at a bar making jokes and enjoying a drink with friends (In this case it was a Mezcal) While sitting with my brother from Oaxaca, Asis Cortes and my other dear friend and mentor Darren Crawford circa summer of 2014.
Darren, Asis and myself were drinking a unique Mezcal from the state of Guerrero or Michoacan… it was milled with a wooden bat, fermented in cow hide and distilled in clay… needless to say it smelled like “Pure Donkey”!!!!
Darren and I returned a few months later with some stickers we had created of a small Donkey / Burro! We started making jokes with our friends and local mezcalero community, they got a kick out it, enter the Puro Burro movement… stickers and a good joke!!!
I had previously been working with Tequila Fortaleza and Guillermo Sauza, leading their industry tours to the town of Tequila in Jalisco. After a dozen or so of those tours it seemed like a good idea to extend and start running tours in OAX to see the Cortes family and El Jolgorio producers under the brand/tour company name of Puro Burro!!!
We loaded all of our friends and guests up with Burro stickers and from then on… Puro Burro was everywhere… although nobody really knew what it was…. and that made it fun for us, allows a bit off the radar but always in site. The Burro family began to grow, as friends from across the states and Europe began to visit and tour OAX with us!
In the beginning, it was a bit more like Mezcal Boot Camp!!! 5x days, 6x-7x Palenques (Mezcal Distilleries) and long nights and early mornings… it was a blast… but most needed a vacation after this “vacation”.
We have been fortunate enough to host a lot of dear friends and community from L.A., one good story the NEAT Team… Wen Yeh and Jameson came down and spent a good portion of the day with us in the back of a cattle/dump truck… etc. 🙂
While running tours quarterly and working on a few other projects like importation of glassware from Don Hipolito Gutierrez (Tonala, Jalisco) and ceramics from Omar Hernandez (Etla, Oaxaca) we Burros have moved on to one other fun large scale project… OFRENDA… our Oaxacan Compound here in the Centro… basically and industry home, built by us to host all of our friends who are traveling down to enjoy OAX.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
All and all it has been an amazing ride, we have always keep it pretty simple and clandestine… nobody real knew what we were up too… basically we always had Mezcal on us, and keep going back to OAX often… people caught on and wanted to join in on the adventure…….we have been fortunate with the support of Asis and his family and the mezcalero community… I guess there have been a few bumps along the way… flat tires… hiking 3 miles in the sun… things of this nature… but nothing to heavy 🙂
Please tell us about Puro Burro.
Puro Burro the company is more like and umbrella for all of our activities, Mezcal Tours, Bar Tools & Imports, Brand Related Events, Charity Related Events, etc.
Honestly, I’d say we are all most proud of the community we have created…..there are a lot of Burro’s out there running around now, all of which have either toured with us, worked with us, or are had a few / a lot of Mezcal with us!!!!
We started all this just before the big Mezcal BOOM! So we have been around and scouting Oaxaca for some pretty fun and special adventures… like 8+ years, and we take our guests, their safety and our job as their tour guide very seriously… everywhere we take folks…. we Burro’s have been there before to scout and deem it a secure (and usually far out and wild area)
Moving forward we have created a massive 3x story compound here in downtown OAX… the home is called (OFRENDA) for folks to come down in groups and enjoy all OAX has to offer… more like a forward operating base for the industry and brands.
We Burro’s are like Switzerland… friends with all, and all are welcome.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Purchased more apparel & stickers!!!!!!
- OFRENDA Full Compound Buy Out = $500 per nights, sleeps 10x persons real nice
- Puro Burro Mixing Glasses = $35 per unit
- Puro Burro Ceramics Jicaras = $20 per unit
- Puro Burro Gear … Shirts / Hat’s = $20