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Berry Bros steps in to try and save UK juniper plants for gin production

Published:  23 January, 2014

Berry Bros & Rudd Spirits is looking to help protect juniper plants, vital in the production of gin, by providing grants for three different growing areas in the UK.

In conjunction with its own premium gin brand, No 3 London Dry Gin, it has teamed up with Plantlife, the UK's leading wild plant charity, to provide three grants of a £1,000 each that will go towards projects to help perserve juniper plants across Gloucestershire, West Sussex and Wiltshire.

Juniper plants are in decline across the UK due to factors such as under-grazing as well as a lack of habitat for young plants. It is feared a plant disease (Phytophthora austrocedrae) could even threaten juniper plants nationwide.

The three grants will be used in: Painswick Beacon, Gloucestershire; Calstone and Cherhill Downs in North Wiltshire, the UK's largest juniper plant population; and Steyning Coombe in West Sussex which currently only has four existing juniper plants.

Juniper plants are thought to be one of Britain's oldest plants, dating back to the Ice Age.

Tim Wilkins, species recovery coordinator at Plantlife, said: "Juniper has been steadily declining over the last few decades and without action now, it actually faces extinction across Gloucestershire and much of lowland England within 50 years.  Such a calamity would represent more than the loss of a single plant type - it supports more than 40 species of insect and fungus that cannot survive without it. Plantlife have launched various juniper conservation projects across the UK but, especially with this new disease threat, we're absolutely thrilled that No 3 Gin is bolstering our efforts in these ways."

Mike Mackenzie, of No.3 Gin, added: "Juniper is very much at the heart of No.3 Gin, so it's entirely appropriate that we support Plantlife's activities in these ways. Their work in this area of conservation is second to none and we're hopeful of healthy days ahead for Gloucestershire's juniper."