Just damn good mezcal.

No celebrities,
Just damn good mezcal.


The Story

A beautifully balanced mezcal with a notorious history that includes smuggling and weeklong parties in a clandestine bar and music hub in Antigua, Guatemala.

Ilegal Activity

Who We Are

Around 2004, Ilegal’s founder John Rexer began bringing mezcal down from Oaxaca to Antigua to supply his bar, Café No Sé. The mezcal became popular very quickly. At the time, he was bringing down unbranded mezcal from a variety of villages in Oaxaca that included: Tlacolula, San Lorenzo, Sola De Vega, Santa Catarina Minas, Hierve el Agua, Santiago Matatlan and a few others.

In 2006, John created the brand Ilegal, originally just to supply his bar in Guatemala. On the back of each bottle of Ilegal you will find it says “Originally produced for: Café No Sé, Mezcal Bar.”

Certified as artisanal by the CRM, made in Oaxaca, agave forward, with a hint of smoke. Approachable and versatile, can be served neat or in cocktails.

We only use Espadín agave because it is cultivated and sustainable. 100% natural, Ilegal Mezcal uses no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, or additives. Just agave, sun, and time. Commitment to quality is apparent in every step of our process, from harvest to first sip.

O​ne of the few brands that has aged mezcals. Simple Portfolio: Joven, Reposado, & Añejo.

Ilegal is a leading artisanal mezcal in the US. Crafted in Oaxaca, Mexico from sustainable Espadín agave. It is smooth, approachable and ultra premium. Our name comes from when the owner used to smuggle it from Mexico to Antigua, Guatemala for his bar, Café No Sé…everything Ilegal is full of risk and adventure, great stories and truth wilder than fiction.

“Ilegal is made 'Sin Prisa,' without rush or hurry.”

Marquez emphasizes that Ilegal isn’t attempting to showcase a singular or superior style of production, but is rather pursuing its own preference. “There’s an over-specification of what mezcal should or shouldn’t be,” he says. “It’s an artisanal spirit, so who is one artisan to say to another that your art form isn’t correct? It doesn’t mean it’s the best way or the only way, it’s the way we do it.”

Think of this enjoyable sipper as a mezcal for the smoky Scotch set. The amber hue and mellow caramel aroma leads into a rich caramel and toffee palate. The complex finish offers plenty of campfire smoke, plus cacao nib, clove and burnt orange peel.

Ilegal Life


Bar Ilegal Tour

Café No Sé is the original home of Ilegal Mezcal + the first mezcal bar opened outside of Mexico. Opened by Ilegal founder John Rexer around 2004, the bar has become the beating heart of an international music scene in Antigua, Guatemala.

Bar Ilegal is an experiential outpost of Café No Sé. The Ilegal team is thrilled to be celebrating 20(ish) years of Café No Sé with our 2023 Bar Ilegal Tour, making stops in Oaxaca, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles, New York, and ending at Café No Sé itself in Antigua, Guatemala. Fans in these cities can expect plenty of mezcal, tattoos, and performances from the legendary SUSU.

100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) Glass Bottles

The pandemic kicked off a global glass shortage that impacted the spirits supply chain worldwide. When Ilegal found ourselves with no access to the bottles we had used for years, what could have thrown off production ended up a silver lining – we took swift action to identify and shift to a recylced glass partner. 

All Ilegal Mezcal bottles are now made by a family-run company that recycles 10,000 tons of glass each year at its facility in Jalisco, Mexico. 

Love Your Neighbor

In 2018 we launched Ilegal’s Love Your Neighbor platform. We believe that at the door of your business your values should be exemplified and defended. We are too keenly aware of the issues of climate change, immigration, the refugee crisis, gender discrimination, racism and xenophobia. These issues impact us, our friends, and our relatives.

Since the company began we have supported and contributed to a number of groups working to affect social change for the better and in 2019 we have raised over $60,000 for several groups with your help.

Winner of 2017 Shorty Award Gold Distinction for Brand Identity

We launched the Donald Eres Un Pendejo campaign in July of 2015 to give a voice to and unify the community that is in opposition to Donald Trump’s racist, sexist, dangerous statements.

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