This is the fourth in an ongoing series of stories about Mapa da Cachaça’s analysis of different cachaça styles.
Perhaps nothing brings more sadness to me than Mapa da Cachaça’s standardization school. You see, to imagine that producing cachaça in a standardized way is an alternative way of production, is strange to a gringo. Rather, it should be those who do not produce cachaça in a standardized fashion that should be considered unusual.
It’s understandable that before knowledge about scientifically producing distilled spirits was widespread that producers simply wouldn’t know how to standardize their products. But now that cachaça is a big business, and because there are so many well-made cachaças, it should surprise people that, at least according to Mapa da Cachaça, there are so many producers who either don’t or simply don’t know how to standardize.
There is one good example of non-standardization by choice, Maria Izabel. But Maria Izabel is a unique case, and she has always stated her preference not to standardize her cachaça. That is quirky and unique, but it’s probably not what most people want from their preferred cachaça brands. Because I can point to a producer such as Maria Izabel who does not standardize and not to another one who asserts their lack of standardization, I posit that she is in a small minority of producers.
Her positioning is based on being unique—not using any electricity during production, full-on organic, and letting whatever happens, happen. Because she produces so little cachaça, somewhere under 8,000 liters per year, it’s not as though many people even have the opportunity to sample her products. Her fans will appreciate her for who she is, not despite who she is.
Because it’s extraordinarily rare to find such a producer, I believe that Mapa da Cachaça has erred in offering regular producers as somehow unique, or that there is even a division between standardization and non-standardization. There isn’t. Further, for consumers who know nothing about cachaça, offering standardization as a school might make newcomers believe that producers don’t know what they’re doing. That’s far from the truth and doesn’t respect the work that has been put into creating a new wave of high-quality, standardized products, which dominate the market.