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Lakeland Distillery partners with Cumbrian Wildlife Trust on juniper

Published:  09 November, 2015

Lakeland Distillery has partnered with the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust to source local juniper for its award-winning Lakes Gin.

The trust led a team from the brewery to the Whitbarrow Nature Reserve near Kendal, one of the few remaining places in Britain where juniper is both abundant and healthy.

Other botanicals in the Lakes Gin are also sourced from the fells, including meadowsweet, bilberry, heather, hawthorn and mint.

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust is a charity partner of the distillery. It uses the financial support offered by the distillery to maintain the region's native juniper.

The trust's plant management expertise has been vital to protecting the species locally.

A recent survey found that up to 63% of Scottish juniper had been blighted by Argentinian pathogen Phytophthora austrocedrae.

The Lakes Distillery is the only UK distilling operation with permission to use wild Cumbrian juniper.

Paul Currie, managing director and founder of The Lakes Distillery, told Harpers: "We work closely with the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, which is running a successful programme to rejuvenate the stock of juniper in the fells.

We undertake our juniper foraging each autumn under their guidance and advice, and are delighted that local Cumbrian juniper can be at the heart of our award winning Lakes Gin."

David Harpley, conservation manager at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: "Juniper is one of only three native species of conifer in the UK, with Cumbria being an important county for juniper scrub, having more extensive plants than anywhere else in England.

"The fruits and berries available in our region have long been used as ingredients in food and drink so it's great to see that tradition being continued by The Lakes Distillery. Cumbrian juniper is at the heart of The Lakes Gin, making it a truly Lake District product, proud of its heritage."

The £6m Lakeland Distillery opened in December 2014. The Lakes Gin won a silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge in spring 2015.

The Lakes Gin is available at Harvey Nichols, Majestic and Fortnum & Mason.