This is not easy news to break. We're sorry
Friday night G&T lovers, look away now.
In tipple-based news that is going to break your heart, Britain is in danger of a gin shortage. Seriously.
Yes, one of our proudest, most distinguished home-grown products is at risk. This is a result of an outbreak of a plant disease, which is attacking the juniper berry, according to a report from Plant Life.
The berries – which are a crucial component in the making of everyone's number one white spirit – are in distress as a result of the pandemic which is affecting the swathes of juniper plants grown in Scotland.
Luckily, measures are being put in place to protect our beloved beverage. Jonathan Engels, producer of the very delicious award-winning Crossbill Gin (and the only UK-based maker to use 100% Scottish juniper, thank you very much) is making sure his production isn't affected.
"We're very aware of how juniper supplies can dwindle, from disease and from deer eating the berries," he says. "So we source all of ours from a few private estates, where disease can't be spread by walkers' boots, and where the wildlife doesn't eat them. It could become affected, but I'm confident that we're doing everything we can to stop it from being an issue.
"Also, most producers in the UK import their juniper from Italy or Macedonia. So it's not a problem they're dealing with," he adds.
Walter Riddell, who makes Northumberland's Hepple Gin along with chef Valentine Warner, is on the case, too.
"We harvest viable juniper seeds from our own bushes, and have just had our first crop of young seedlings planted back out in the wild. Over the next few years we would expect to add many hundreds of new bushes a year to the native population.
"This programme gives us an opportunity to quarantine young plants and try to find disease resistance if we are unlucky enough to ever find it crossing the border into Northumberland," he says.
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