Are we heading for an apocalyptic gin shortage?
According to Plantlife UK’s 2015 juniper report the renewed interest in Scottish juniper by the craft gin movement has revealed that around 79% of all juniper plants are diseased or dying.
Most importantly the signs of Phytophthora austrocedrae, a deadly fungal disease, are showing up in juniper plants across the UK. This disease was originally discovered in Argentina in 2007 and currently there is no solid theory for how it traversed the Atlantic.
The disease is yet to be confirmed on mainland Europe but should it find its way across the channel there is a significant chance we will be facing a juniper shortage. This could do to the gin industry what Phylloxera did to the French wine industry in the mid 19th Century if it manages to spread to the Mediterranean.
With the rate at which gin consumption is peaking right now, combined with a potential world-wide juniper blight, this could create the perfect storm for a gin shortage and sky-rocketing prices. However don’t start hoarding your craft gins just yet.
Juniper (at least the berry producing type) grows pretty much all across the planet. The chance of a serious global shortage is virtually nil and even if it were inevitable there is no proof that the disease in question can spread to the multiple other varieties of juniper which some American craft distillers are already experimenting with. Plantlife’s report was pretty much the first serious review of a plant that isn’t intentionally propagated or seen as much more than just another conifer by the majority of Scots.
So whilst this sort of article is great for filling in some space on the UK Telegraph’s weak food and drink section, those of us who treat the martini, G&T and Negroni with reverence can breathe easy. All this scare-mongering and juniper research is making me thirsty and the sun is definitely past the weekend yard arm so I’m jumping on the G&T train to see if I can make a dent in the juniper supply.
Care to join?
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