A Gin Shortage On the Horizon? Experts Think So

A booming industry weathers the calm before the Brexit storm.

By Ethan L. Johns
June 13, 2018

Image: Shutterstock

Smart of Snoop Dogg to break a gin-related Guinness World Record when he did, because the price of his beloved juice companion could soon be heading skyward.

With the United Kingdom assessing just how it plans to exit the European Union, the spirits industry is worried about a “doomsday” outcome that could result in shortages of gin, according to The Independent.

Gin, which is more or less the signature spirit of England, is made by infusing a neutral alcohol spirit with juniper berries (which must be the finished product’s predominant flavor) and other botanicals, many of which are imported from E.U. countries.

A no-deal Brexit—meaning the U.K.’s departure from the E.U. without a negotiated trade agreement with other member states—would make these aromatics more expensive and more difficult to acquire, says the country’s Wine and Spirits Trade Association. This could spell doom for smaller producers and drive up the prices of mass-produced gins.

In the grand scheme of things, this wouldn’t be so bad compared to estimates that food and medicine shortages would occur after a matter of weeks, but hey, don’t mess with the world’s gin and tonic supply.

Bombay Sapphire demonstrates this potential sourcing nightmare right on the bottle: juniper berries and iris root from Italy, lemon peels and almonds from Spain, as well as liquorice from China and coriander from Morocco.

These worries come at a moment when the U.K.’s gin industry is booming, with sales up 40 percent in the last quarter.

While this “doomsday” scenario seems dark and hopeless, many government officials and economics experts are confident that a deal will be made before the U.K. must withdraw. So for now, no need to start stockpiling barks, berries and roots in the cellar.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns