Artisan Spirit: Fall 2016

Page 92

Climate Change and Your Ingredients WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER

What happens when your beloved local ingredient will no longer grow locally?


magine your distillery is wellestablished, your recipes have been dialed in for over a decade and your products are in high demand. Then one day you get a call from a fruit supplier who tells you the local peaches you have been buying since you first started making peach brandy, the ones you built that product’s reputation on, didn’t come to fruition this year. In fact, she says, no one in your entire region has any peaches, and the only peaches available will cost a fortune due to increased demand, low supply and longdistance refrigerated shipping. Not only will the fruit cost you more, so will your packaging since you will have to change your label that says “Made with local peaches.” So what do you do?


That is a hypothetical scenario, but the reality is it could happen. Due to changing weather patterns your ingredients may not always be available from your normal sources, or they may not be of the same quality, or you may not be able to find them at all. It may just happen once, but many scientists expect it will likely become the new normal due to the impact of climate change. Whether you believe the climate is changing or not is up to you, and there are plenty of people on either side of the fence. One person who is sure it is changing is Dr. Michael P. Hoffmann, the founder and executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture. Hoffmann spoke to a crowd of distillers

at this year’s American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) national convention in Chicago. He began his speech with a lighthearted request for a show of hands from climate change deniers and told that he was used to talking to people who didn’t agree with him. Then he dove in, informing distillers of the likelihood of changes in the quality, price, and availability of their ingredients. “You’re getting sources of product from all over the world, but that’s changing,” he said, citing instances of commonly used distilling ingredients that have been affected by changes in weather and overall temperatures. “Most everything, in one way or another, is changing.” Hoffmann painted a global picture of what these changes looked like, explaining how vanilla beans, saffron and other botanicals distillers use are currently being harvested in lower numbers, or being grown in new areas because their original WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM