Bottle shop dedicated to agave is set to open soon on the Westside

Roxana Aguirre, part owner of Patria Mexican restaurant in Grant Park, will open Ancestral, Georgia's first agave spirits bottle shop in Georgia next month.
(Courtesy of Roxana Aguirre)

Credit: (Courtesy of Roxana Aguirre)

Credit: (Courtesy of Roxana Aguirre)

Roxana Aguirre, part owner of Patria Mexican restaurant in Grant Park, will open Ancestral, Georgia's first agave spirits bottle shop in Georgia next month. (Courtesy of Roxana Aguirre)

Owner Roxana Aguirre envisions her new Ancestral Bottle Shop + Market as more than just a traditional store. She also hopes it will be a gateway into the ancient traditions of Mexico.

Set to open next month, the shop in Atlanta’s Westside Paper development will showcase a curated selection of micro-batch Mexican spirits that are family-owned and produced in a single village. Aguirre, who is part-owner of Patria Cocina in Grant Park, said the idea came about after the Mexican restaurant held numerous successful tequila and mezcal events.

“Our customers kept asking where they could purchase the bottle, and there was maybe one bottle shop that carried it,” Aguirre said. “By the fourth event, I thought, ‘Wait, I think there is a big market for this, because people are really interested in agave spirits.”

The shop is very personal to Aguirre, who was born in the U.S. but visited Mexico every year with her parents. “It kind of made me tap into a little bit more of my culture and a little more about agave spirits,” she said.

The layout of the new shop is attractive, but it’s also intentional, with numerous archways that pay homage to traditional Mexican town centers. In Mexico, Aguirre said, “a plaza was the gathering spot of town. The arches all around the plaza housed food stalls, ice cream shops, the pharmacy.”

She said she wanted to incorporate that tradition into the shop, so it “is like a gathering spot.” She worked with architects to plan for arches “all around the inside.”

The shelves in these nooks will provide space for the smaller and generational brands of small-batch and additive-free mezcal, tequila, raicilla and bacanora that served as the inspiration for the store’s name.

“Ancestral means pre-Hispanic; that’s kind of where I went when I thought about it,” Aguirre said, noting that pulque, an alcoholic spirit made from the fermented sap of the agave plant, has been consumed since the Mesoamerican period. “To me, things that are done the ancestral way are the way things are supposed to be done.”

Dating back 500 years, traditional production methods of mezcal have been passed from generation to generation. There are no autoclaves, no diffusers and no column stills. The piñas of agave plants are roasted slowly in underground pit ovens. Once cooked, they are crushed by hand. Fermentation happens naturally in wooden vats, or sometimes in stone or clay vessels.

“It takes a long time; it’s a passion project,” Aguirre said.

In addition to agave spirits, Ancestral will sell copita glasses, flutes and mugs made in Tijuana, Oaxaca and Jalisco, as well as handblown glass from Mexico.

Accessibility is important to Aguirre, who will offer items at a variety of prices. Along with some higher- priced items for collectors, Ancestral will offer a special, limited-release mezcal made especially for the shop in Oaxaca, from small batches chosen by Aguirre.

At the center of Ancestral will be a communal table used for classes, tastings and workshops. Amid the arched portals, it is where tales of time-honored techniques and traditions will be shared with customers.

Ancestral Bottle Shop + Market. 950 W. Marietta St., Atlanta.

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