Americana and other species this is used by the Mexicans to make their national beverage, pulque; the flower shoot is cut out and the sap collected and subsequently fermented.
There are many other fibre-producing agaves, including some of those from which pulque is derived.
There is some confusion in the specific names of these agaves; the " pulque "-producing plant is usually described as the Agave americana, though A.
" Pulque "f is the fermented drink made from this sap: " mescal " is the distilled spirit made from the leaves and roots of the plant.
The phenomenon is, in fact, very like that of the fermentation of palm wine and pulque, where the juices are obtained from artificial cuts.
The first is chiefly known in the south by the " magueys," from which the national drinks " pulque " and " mescal " are extracted.
A peculiar and highly profitable branch of Mexican agriculture is the cultivation of the Agave for two widely different purposes - one for its fibre, which is exported, and the other for its sap, which is manufactured into intoxicating liquors called "pulque " and " mescal."
The pulque industry is located on the plateau surrounding the city of Mexico, the most productive district being the high, sandy, arid plain of Apam, in the state of Hidalgo, where the " maguey " (A gave americana) finds favourable conditions for its growth - a dry calcareous surface with moisture sufficiently near to be reached by its roots.
There are also a large number of distilleries, breweries, and establishments for the manufacture of it pulque," " mescal," and imitation or counterfeited liquors.
The national revenues are derived from import and export duties, port dues and other taxes levied on foreign commerce; from excise and stamp taxes and other charges upon internal business transactions; from direct taxes levied in the federal district and national territories, covering a land tax in rural districts, a house tax in the city, commercial and professional licences, water rates, and sundry taxes on bread, pulque, vehicles, saloons, theatres, &c.; from probate dues and registry fees; from a surcharge on all taxes levied by the states, called the " federal contribution," which is paid in federal revenue stamps; from post and telegraph receipts; and from some minor sources of income.
Though aloe-beer or " pulque " was allowed for feasts and to invalids in moderation, and old people over seventy seem to be represented in one of the picture-writings as having liberty of drunkenness, young men found drunk were clubbed to death and young women stoned.
As is related in the legends, Quetzalcoatl came into the land to teach men to till the soil, to work metals and to rule a well-ordered state; the two gods played their famous match at the ball-game, and Tezcatlipoca persuaded the weary Quetzalcoatl to drink the magic pulque that sent him roaming to the distant ocean, where he embarked in his boat and disappeared from among men.'