Britain could be set for gin shortages within weeks of leaving the E.U., according to a government study.
The recently released “doomsday” report outlined what might happen if no Brexit deal has been reached when the time comes for Britain to cut ties with its continental neighbors. As reported by the nation’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association, one of the outcomes of this scenario could see Britain face a “catastrophic” gin drought (along with the admittedly more serious food and medicine shortages).
Key to the production of Britain’s favorite drink are juniper berries, as well as a mix of other Mediterranean botanicals — all of which are commonly imported to the country from its E.U. trading partners. If no agreement has been reached by the Brexit deadline, distillers will find themselves with no supply of the vital ingredients.
“Without juniper, there is no gin,” said Dan Szor, founder of the U.K.-based Cotswolds Distillery. “It’s not just SMEs [small-to-medium enterprises] like ours that will suffer [if] the situation isn’t resolved, it’s all [the] millions of gin lovers who might not be able to get hold of their favorite tipple.”
There are currently 315 gin distilleries in the U.K. and smaller, independent distillers could be affected more than larger producers.
“We neither have the purchasing power of the big producers nor the storage space to stockpile juniper,” said Cathy Caton, one of the founders of small-scale producer, Brighton Gin. “We are already noticing supply issues and are guessing that the bigger players are buying up stocks to secure them — something we’re not in a financial or physical position to do.”
While it’s important to remind ourselves that this is an unlikely worst-case scenario, G&T aficionados may want to stock up on bottles of their favorite British gin, just in case. Alternatively, this could be the perfect opportunity to discover a different international brand.