Founder Francisco Javier Perez Cruz, taught the best ways to grow agave by his mother, has changed the tradition of making mezcal into a community, one committed to the quality of their craft, and raising one another other up. He also founded the Consejo Oaxaqueño del Maguey Mezcal (Oaxaca Mezcal Maguey Council) as a platform for local mezcaleros and members of the industry to organize. Today, the Banhez Cooperative of farmers and producers, unified by Francisco Javier, form the Unión Productores de Agropecuarios del Distrito de Ejutla de Crespo (UPADEC) and is run by his son, Luis. The life of a mezcalero once meant inconsistent work, low wages and an uncertain future. The 36 farming families behind the Banhez Cooperative are changing this, improving lives now and for generations to come.