The weather in Scotland over April, May and June was the wettest on record and a leading malting barley consultancy has advised that the barley harvest will be the worst for many years. The UK would normally have a surplus of barley for export as much as 200,000 tonnes however there is real concern that the UK may not even be able to satisfy its own demand and has held preliminary talks with Denmark regarding the filling the gap. So what is the problem with too much rain and barley crops? The permanent rainfall which has seen mass flooding across the UK has put pressure on the plants including bettering the conditions for fungal infestations.
The Scotch whisky trade are monitoring the situation closely as this will have a big impact on whisky distillation in 2012. It is believed many of the large producers have already set up deals with Scandinavian barley suppliers which means this year’s whisky production could leave us with Danish Scotch or Swedish Scotch.
It isn’t that unusual for Scottish whisky producers to pull barley supplies from across the border in England when weather conditions have not been great however importing from across the water is highly unusual. When in 12 years or so time when the whisky has matured we may have forgotten the summer of 2012 and the imported barley, should be interesting to see what impact it has on the whisky itself.