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Sonora governor promises to make agave spirit bacanora core part of state economy

Sonora’s governor says he will push to make the state’s agave distillate a major part of the state’s economy. Many hope the spirit’s popularity will grow to rival other Mexican distillates.

At the state’s first annual bacanora forum last week, Gov. Alfonso Durazo said he wants bacanora to become an iconic part of the state’s economy — like mezcal in Oaxaca or tequila in Jalisco.

"The primary income, the primary economic source in these municipalities should not be ranching or agriculture. It has to be bacanora," he said. "And we have to aspire to reach and surpass the mezcal brands that have gained fame from Oaxaca, from Guerrero, from Jalisco, the tequila. Why no? That's how tequila started. And that's how mezcal started in Oaxaca."

Bacanora, which can be produced in 35 of the state’s 72 municipalities, is a traditional agave distillate that was prohibited for nearly eight decades until 1992. Now Durazo says his government will work to facilitate greater production and commercialization of the spirits — saying he wants Sonora to be known around the world for its bacanora.

"We must aspire to say, 'In Sonora, and in the world, they drink bacanora.' And we're going to make it happen," he said.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.