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Nooooo. Juniper Berry Disease Threatens Gin and Tonic

on 27/06/13 at 3:42 pm

Booze News

juniper berriesRecently, a fungus-like pathogen called Phytophthora austrocedrae has been found causing dieback and mortality of juniper at several upland woodland sites in the Lake District and Scotland in northern Britain threatening future supply for gin distillers.

This fungus was first found in southern Argentina in 2007 causing mortality of a native South American conifer species.    This fungus primarily attacks the roots and stem bases of juniper.

Juniper used to be found all over the UK but now is found mainly growing on chalky ground.   Almost half the trees in Scotland are at risk of being lost and in the South of England, where the juniper tree population has already been reduced by 60-70%, there is a risk of losing the remainder.   Some of the current stock is over 100 years old and in need of replacement so as to keep the continuity of these older varieties which are essential for the future survival of the species.

Most UK distillers currently use juniper berries grown in Eastern Europe but juniper is not only used for distilling and can also be used for flavouring game dishes in cooking.