Serbian Juniper Harvest 2023

The 2023 Juniper harvest is fast approaching, and Tommy has just returned from Serbia.

He was meeting collectors and inspecting the prospects for the new crop with harvest due to start in September.

Good quantities starting to ripen

Predictions for the new crop are better than 2022 but this is to be expected given the disastrous harvest last year from both a quality and quantity point of view. In Serbia, there appeared to be average numbers of berries on the bushes and good quantities of these were starting to ripen. At Beacon, we always discuss how cyclical Juniper bushes are with mixed crops of poor, average and good. Last year was certainly poor and we are hoping for an average crop this year.

Juniper Natural regeneration
Natural regeneration

Demand across the globe

Difficulties lie ahead in determining the demand across the globe given the nervousness surrounding increasing costs, a decrease in the interest of Gin, Russia/Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis. Coupled with this, many users are short/out of stock given it was so hard to source from the 2022 crop. This shortage will mean that the market will open up high but hopefully there will be enough berries to satisfy demand.

Visiting various regions

Tommy’s visit took him to a number of regions with differing terrain. There was pleasing evidence of the natural regeneration of bushes which was put down to under-grazing. Previously, the mountains were grazed harder by cows and sheep. Although these animals did not eat the Juniper bushes, they certainly damaged young plants holding back their growth. Livestock numbers have dropped though with many rural people moving to the city and farms becoming bigger and more commercialised.

Juniper bushes and an eagle
A very Serbian site – Juniper bushes and an eagle
Tommy haughton on a rock
Tommy on a rock

Favourable weather conditions

Some regions that Tommy visited were 10-15 days off from reaching ripeness and others were a good month away. Tommy has everything crossed for favourable dry and sunny (not too hot please) weather conditions to encourage ripening and bring the moisture content down naturally.

Juniper search with cows
Company for our Juniper search
Unripe juniper berries for 2023
Un-ripe berries for 2023 (larger) and 2024 (smaller)

Excellent quality berries

The berries he saw looked to be of excellent quality which was pleasing. Serbia had significant rainfall in May/June which is good for Juniper berries and something they did not get in 2022.

One year old juniper bush
One year bush on the right, two-year bush on the left

Climate change affecting botanicals

Tommy’s discussion with collectors certainly confirmed what Beacon has long thought that the change in climate is leading to more extreme weather and these extremes are affecting the botanicals and how/when they grow.

Beacon’s stocks of the 2022 crop are healthy which is something we are all extremely proud of. In the most difficult year, we were able to secure our customer’s requirements and that is thanks to our Suppliers and hard work.

Natural juniper regeneration
Natural regeneration
A grasshopper in juniper bush
A protective grasshopper

Macedonia and Albanian Juniper

Tommy and Michael will be off to Macedonia and Albania later in the year to inspect the harvest and hopes to have more positive news.

Please feel free to contact either Tommy or Michael direct to discuss in greater detail.

Juniper selfie - Tommy Haughton
Juniper selfie Natural