Our Team

Whether guests spend a day, four days or build a custom experience with us, we provide maximum value in exchange for their time.

Our award-winning team will ensure that you feel informed, comfortable, and safe amid unfamiliar cultures and landscapes.

Collectively our team has invested decades into understanding agave spirits and culture. Our enthusiasm is big and our thirst for knowledge is contagious. Our team’s diverse experience, unrivaled expertise, and laid-back style create a warm, pretense-free vibe that fosters a fun, friendly environment in our groups.

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The new home of Experience Tequila/Mezcal.

After ten years, we’ve rebranded and moved all of our tours to one website for clarity and ease of booking. Welcome!

Clayton Szczech

Origin:
Bakersfield, California

Languages spoken:
English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
High proof Blancos

Clayton Szczech

Founder + Tour Leader

Equal parts scholar, evangelist, and nerd, Clayton is a full time agave culture spirits specialist who believes that agave spirits should be sipped and savored, their history and culture absorbed and appreciated, and their regions of origin explored. This ideology led him to create a new category of agave spirits tourism in Mexico. He set the benchmark for the highest standard of professionalism in his industry and continues to expand his access, connections and influence into all facets of the agave spirits world.

Fluent both linguistically and culturally, his dedication to Mexico has flourished over the past 25 years. It began as an affinity for the Spanish language and developed into an active exploration of culture where he discovered that agave spirits are not just a beverage—but a place, history and tradition.

Growing up in Bakersfield, California, Clayton pushed against social norms and embraced the marginalized. As a high school punk rocker and wannabe cholo he became obsessed with learning Spanish, sparking his interest in all things Mexico. At age 17—accompanied by a machete and a friend—he crossed the border on foot and never stopped going back to Mexico, eventually relocating there permanently.

As a recent immigrant to Mexico, Clayton began exploring and tasting tequila at home, noting the wide range of flavor and quality. He read everything he could find about tequila, in both English and Spanish and with piqued curiosity traveled to the village of Tequila, Jalisco. He was immediately compelled to create an experience to share Tequila and its traditional elixir, with the world. In 2008, rooted in his personal exploration, he combined the best of what he had discovered with his love of storytelling and hospitality into a tequila tasting tour and founded Experience Agave. He continued to explore all agave spirits and their culture, leading him to very quickly add mezcal tours in Oaxaca and more recently raicilla tours in Jalisco.

Clayton is proud to be a global interpreter of and voice for agave spirits. He is certified as an Experto en Tequila and the only non-Mexican national to earn the Tequila Regulatory Council’s prestigious “Double-T” certification.

When he’s not traveling the world speaking about, consulting on or tasting agave spirits, he can be found hosting custom experiences for Experience Agave guests, curating the spirits selection at La Cata, or serving as a tasting judge or consultant for agave spirits festivals. 

Origin:
Spokane, Washington

Languages spoken:
English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
High-proof tequila or Agave inaequidens from Jalisco or Michoacan (mezcal, destilado de agave, or raicilla)

IG: @kamkamgram

Kami Kenna

Tour Leader

As a child Kami knew she was destined to live differently. A forever student of Latin America, she first came to Mexico as a backpacker in 2009. Five years later, she won a trip to Peru in a bartending competition. On a leap of faith, she quit her job in Portland, sold everything, and has been living between Peru and Mexico ever since. She is still awed by Mexico’s hospitality and kindness to strangers. Years of in-depth visits to distilleries throughout Mexico have left her completely captivated by the people behind agave spirits. She is intensely appreciative of the Experience Agave approach of highlighting human beings over brands.

Kami’s years bartending in the hospitality industry, distilling at Destilería Andina in Peru, and her degree in Spanish are the perfect formula for instilling a deep love of the process and culture of agave spirits in our guests. If you want to dive deep into the details, she’s all in. She can geek out with the best of them—she even has a custom-made 10 liter copper-pot still in her Oaxaca apartment to work on her own concoctions. That’s commitment to craft.

Origin:
Miahuatlán Oaxaca, Mexico

Languages spoken:
English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
All of them!

IG: @conejo_mezcofago

Darinel “Dari” Silva

Tour Leader

Dari’s immersion in the tradition of mezcal began as a child in Miahuatlán, Oaxaca. His grandfather’s house was a gathering point for mezcaleros from throughout the region, the place they would store their mezcal until market day. As a young adult, Dari saw that making traditional mezcal requires the hard work of entire families and villages. These early palenque visits kindled the curiosity and enthusiasm for mezcal and maguey varietals that are hallmarks of his personality today.

Dari is an architect by training and a part-time rally car navigator. But his top priority is helping people appreciate mezcal’s complexities. Mezcal touches every part of Oaxacan village culture, and Dari revels in making those hidden connections apparent to outsiders. Dari’s kindness and patience ensure that guests feel safe and comfortable at all times, able to enjoy rural Oaxaca without feeling overwhelmed. He feels privileged to watch people fall in love with the spirit as he did so many years ago.

When he’s not sharing his knowledge about agave, you can find him in the kitchen making habanero salsa, sal de gusano, chapulines, and some of the best black mole you’ll ever taste. You definitely want to eat and drink your way through Oaxaca with Dari.

Origin:
Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico

Languages spoken:
English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
Tequila blanco

IG: @delcielodejalisco

Estrella Juarez

Tour Host

Estrella was born in Mexico and raised in Yakima, Washington. As an adult, she was called back to Mexico by family, the way of life, the food, spirits, and culture.

She has always loved tequila, but returning to Jalisco brought her in close contact to its place of origin. The variety and history of tequila captivated her, and strengthened her pride in her heritage. As she discovered mezcal and raicilla, she grew to understand how amazing and noble the agave plant is.

Estrella’s background in hospitality led her to leadership roles at Casa Luna (a high-end restaurant in Tlaquepaque), where she often waited on Experience Tequila tour groups. She was always impressed by our guests’ deep interest in agave spirits, as well as how much fun they were having! Since 2017, Estrella has been a star member of our team. Her innate sense of style is equaled by her empathy and social grace, as she effortlessly and intuitively cares for our guests.  

As a Tlaquepaque local, Estrella is well versed in local cuisine and art, as well as an absolute expert at shopping in the area. She loves meeting people from all over the world and encouraging them to try new things. She thrives on the opportunity to share her knowledge and discuss agave spirits with others who share her passion.

When she’s not hosting an Experience Agave tour, you can find her raising two great kids, seeking out new experiences in Mexico, clothes shopping for her next look, and adding to her list of places she’d like to travel.

Origin:
Montreal, Canada

Languages spoken:
French, English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
Mezcal/tuxca

IG: @meshicomagical

Lucie Canuel

Tour Host

Lucie was originally drawn to Mexico by the sun, the people, and the “Mexa” dialect. She stayed because of her deep love for the land and its heritage. She has traveled much of the country, absorbing the culture by tasting local products, including agave spirits.

She is a student of sociology, a lover of people, and a seeker of knowledge. She aims to glean everything she can from social interactions in both her personal and professional life. This allows her to share in-depth insights about Mexico and its cultures.

Lucie has extensive professional experience in tourism, event management, and educational development. She speaks from her heart and exudes passion about Mexico, its people, and its spirits. She is full of stories and facts, and is always eager for lively dialogue with guests from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

When she’s not hosting an Experience Agave tour, you can find her guiding guests on magical experiences in other parts of Mexico, traveling the world, and dancing as much as possible.

Origin:
Austin, Texas

Languages spoken:
English + Spanish

Agave spirit of choice:
Mezcal

Rachel Langley

General Manager​

Rachel’s relationship with Mexico began as a UNESCO project to research the preservation of heirloom corn species in the central valleys of Oaxaca. A student of sustainable agriculture and food systems, she was fascinated with Oaxaca’s ancient agricultural systems and soon fell in love with mezcal. She moved to Oaxaca in 2014 and through frequent palenque visits, has had the opportunity to get to know many maestros mezcaleros, study production styles, and learn about mezcal culture.

Since 2016, Rachel has overseen Experience Agave’s daily operations and guest services. Living permanently in Mexico as a foreigner gives her a good perspective on all sides of the relationships created by tourism. She understands Mexican culture and can easily answer questions and provide a clear picture of what guests can expect, while accurately representing the country and culture.

When she’s not responding to inquiries and preparing guests for their experience with us, she crafts ceramic pieces, makes mariachi playlists, travels as often as possible, and indulges her nerdy side in all manner of food and drink—including researching production styles and historical context.