Country Tails

September 17, 2013
A Juniper Crop Update – Fresh from our Juniper supplier and Farmer. 
The Juniper Berries for Williams Chase Elegant Gin and Williams Chase GB Gin come direct from Tuscany, Italy
New Crop Juniper Berries – As you are probably aware the new crops in all the main producing areas have now started to come on stream. Climatic conditions have been more or less favourable throughout with a generally hot summer and possibly less rainfall than usual. Yields are predicted to be average to healthy and the quality reasonably good. I would now like to take this opportunity to update you on the latest market intelligence from key origins as follows :-
 
Italy – The harvests of the current crops in Tuscany and Northern Umbria are ongoing and are expected to be normal in both quality with the usual high oil content  and quantity. Residual moisture and labour complications are not expected to be issues this year but it is possible that the harvest may take a little longer than normal with collectors currently busy with the more cash remunerative chestnut and mushroom crops. They will be encouraged to vigilant about the possible presence of more than usual wrinkled and brown berries resulting from lower than average precipitation. Prices are reported to be stable and will, as normal command a premium over Balkan origins.
 
Macedonia – Despite being the 2nd most important exporter in Europe after Italy, this origin continues to be perceived as relatively high risk and potentially volatile being particularly vulnerable to speculative activity which is a pity as the quality from reliable sources continues to be good at competitive prices. This season is complicated by reports of a sizeable carryover from last year but the new crop is predicted to be average in size and quality and prices can be expected to settle down as the harvest progresses. 
 
Bosnia Herzegovina – Supply chain logistics and overall reliability from this origin have improved significantly over the past couple of years and latest reports are indicating an average crop of reasonable quality but with a higher proportion of wrinkled/shrunken material and smaller berry size than last year.
 
Albania – This origin is capable of producing a significant crop size but would appear to be almost fatally compromised by continuing neglect of critical quality considerations and fictitious crop reports. Potential buyers should beware of a sizeable carryover of low oil content “industrial” quality from last year for sale as brand new crop at unrealistically high prices. If these factors are not addressed then it is unlikely Albania will be a serious player in the market this year.
 
Serbia – Here the harvest is only just beginning with prospects of an average crop at stable prices with possibly a slightly lower v/o content than other neighbouring Balkan countries. Export logistic procedures like Bosnia have improved and as a result this origin will probably continue to increase market share at the expense of Albania and Kossovo.
 
Kossovo – Probably the most unreliable of the Balkan exporters with a poor infra-structure severely limiting export success. An average crop is predicted which will require rigorous sifting and re-cleaning to meet quality standards required by Western European end users.
 
Bulgaria – A normal flow of average quality at stable prices is expected with a lower than usual oil content and a smaller berry size than from Bosnia Herzegovina.
 
Summary – It would appear that this year due to relatively clement weather conditions ( a hot summer with less rainfall ) will produce a slightly smaller berry size at some origins with a higher amount of wrinkled and brown berries, factors at this stage which look as if they will be tempered by lower residual moisture resulting in improved warehousing / storage conditions with a much reduced risk of mould. In these conditions the current absence of any significant buying pressure, with most buyers enjoying healthy inventories, is expected to pre-empt any price volatility.
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