top of page

Economic, Sociocultural & Environmental Study of Sotol, drink from the Lagunera region, Mexico


About the Program

This research work aims to know the environmental, economic and social aspects, which link the development of Sotol, traditional drink from the Lagunera region (Mexico), demonstrating the importance of transdisciplinary studies, from the perspective of sustainability, to achieve the sustainable development of the Sotol product.



To determine the status of Sotol as a plant, distillate and part of the cultural heritage of the lagoon, it was necessary to document information from primary sources, federal and municipal authorities, researchers and historians. Special bibliographic sources of ethnoecology, historical and cultural studies and legal regulations applicable to the case study were consulted, including interviews with the different stakeholders, being a fundamental part, the field visits to the municipalities that produce Sotol.

The interviews were conducted in the offices of the authorities, places established by the representatives of the food and trade chambers, collectives, as well as in the municipalities where Sotol is made: Cuencamé, Mapimí and San Juan de Guadalupe, in the State of Durango and Torreón, in the State of Coahuila.

We pose the following question of research: Is the development of Sotol sustainable in the Lagunera region? The hypothesis was proposed, where it is established: In the Lagunera region, there is no Sustainable development of the distillate called Sotol, due to a lack of linkage between the actors and the stages of cultivation, processing and marketing.


General Objective

To carry out an analysis of the current state of production of the traditional drink Sotol in the environmental, economic and socio-cultural areas of the Lagunera region.


Specific Objectives

1. Describe the process of elaboration of Sotol and the characterization of the plant (aspargacea)..

2. Analyze the legal framework applicable to the current form of elaboration of Sotol and establish the possible legal instruments applicable to its denomination of origin figure.

3. Determine the socio-cultural aspects linked to the elaboration and consumption of Sotol in the region.



For the realization of the present work, ethnography was necessary as a qualitative research method, through participant observation. Field work was carried out in the different municipalities that make up the Lagunera region and making the state of the art construction through specialized sources. At the end of the investigation, the result was:

  • The identification of environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects, linked to the preparation and consumption of Sotol

  • The detailed description of the elaboration and healing process

  • Definition of historical background and consumption within the Lagunera region.

The most relevant conclusions are:

  • The importance of linking the three pillars of sustainability to ensure organic production, the best price, greater social and commercial acceptance and improvement at the local-regional level of the productive chains of the beverage.

  • The urgent need to apply the various legal tools available to the Legal Framework of the appellation of origin, to achieve a "sustainable development of Sotol". As well as those aspects that link Sotol with the cultural heritage of the Laguna, which are in an accelerated process of identity loss. From the environmental point of view, there is no care for the plant that guarantees the future elaboration of the drink, therefore, it is necessary to document and strengthen the links, to execute an action plan that encompasses the three pillars of sustainability. An intervention is possible, through the application of cultural rights as a means of defending environmental and economic rights.

  • Knowing the way Sotol is made in the Lagunera region, allows us to have elements to study proposals that allow a sustainable development of the traditional drink Sotol.

  • The intervention that facilitates the link between the actors is a priority, so that there is a feedback of their knowledge and the intimate relationship that each one has with the elaboration of the Sotol drink is known.



Currently, the concept of Sustainability is used in many areas to refer to the concatenation of areas or spheres (environmental, economic and social). In fact, the scientific community makes efforts to conduct studies on environmental, economic and social issues, however, there is little work that is achieved together, in which all aspects are actually linked and worked on simultaneously.

The Sotol drink, is a distillate that has denomination of origin, however, although it is recognized in the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila, Mexico, (from the union of 18 municipalities between Durango and Coahuila, the Comarca Lagunera is formed). This territory, understood as the study area, is estimated not to be elaborated in a sustainable way, since its way of elaboration implies the extraction of a plant of simile name that the drink, which takes about 15 years to grow, without it has some form of replacement of the same, so in environmental terms, we are facing a scenario of deforestation risk and loss of the species.

Planta de Sotol (dasylirion spp).

In addition, the Lagunero Sotoleros produce the distillate with minimum health standards, obtaining a product of local distribution only, which fails to acquire the necessary standards to take advantage on the appellation of origin category.

Derived from this precarious elaboration, the perception of the Sotol drink, before the lagoon society, is negative, since it is considered of low quality and is only consumed by the lowest social sectors of the society of the region.

Although the distillation process is the same for many traditional beverages, little is known about the traditional knowledge that the Sotoleros have for the different phases of elaboration, which ranges from Sotol selection, according to the most recommendable time of the year to do it. , cooking, distillation, fermentation and even curing it.

The eventual loss of the plant, would lead to the loss of the raw material for the elaboration of the drink, which would cause a loss of knowledge in the artisan techniques of plant selection and distillation, as well as the loss of the ancestral practices linked to the territory, as is the Cardenche song.

Cardencheros from Sapioriz.



Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila

Asociación Lagunera de Cactología.

Municipio de Mapimí, Durango.

Municipio de Cuencamé, Durango.

Municipio de Torreón, Coahuila. (Ejido Jimulco).

Dirección de Culturas Populares, del Instituto de Cultura de Durango.

Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro, Unidad Torreón y Saltillo.

49 views0 comments


bottom of page