There are three legally defined mezcal categories, as set out by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal (CRM): Mezcal, Mezcal Artesanal, and Mezcal Ancestral. Each category dictates the methods and equipment producers can use to make the spirit.

Mezcal Ancestral production is the most traditional and rudimentary process of the three.

Roasting takes place only in earthen pit, while fermentation can be carried out in a range of vessels including wooden tanks, hollowed-out stone or tree trunks, and animal skins. Distilled exclusively in clay pots fueled by fire.