Don’t Panic: The Gin Crisis Has Been Averted


gin tonic

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Published on

Panic not – the gin crisis has been averted

Back in October 2015, plan experts warned that the juniper berry was under threat from a deadly fungus, Phytophthora austrocedri, which placed Scotland’s juniper reserves at a ‘critical’ state. A spirit can’t be classed as gin unless it is flavoured with juniper, so fans of mother’s ruin naturally began to panic about the future of their favourite post-work beverage.

Instead of stockpiling bottles of the nation’s favourite spirit and panicking on social media (like we did), a team of gardeners at the UK National Tree Seed Project decided to actually do something about the impending gin crisis, teaming up to collect and protect juniper seeds from around the UK.

The project, which is run by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, gathered seeds from juniper hotspots like Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Cumbria, Conwy and the Scottish Highlands, storing them in the Millennium Seed Bank in Sussex.

Storing the seeds won’t cure the disease, but the people behind the project hope it will help to conserve the juniper and prevent it from falling into extinction. Project officer Simon Kallow describes his work as ‘a type of insurance policy.’

Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, said ‘2016 has been a fantastic year for the UK National Tree Seed Project and I’m delighted to hear that we’ve fully collected and conserved our native juniper species.

This project is a huge undertaking, but once complete it will provide a fundamental collection of our iconic British trees, helping Kew to lead the way in tackling the many threats facing the UK’s stunning woodlands.’ We’re glad to learn that something good came out of 2016 – and what better excuse to raise a glass (or three)?

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