Massey University researchers are looking to develop a local juniper berry industry to meet growing demand from the food and beverage sector.
Working in collaboration with the team at Juno Gin and funded by the Massey University-Bashford Nicholls Trust Pivot Award, researchers are responding to the rapid expansion of the local gin market along with price increases for imported juniper berries.
One of the researchers, postgraduate student and technician Su Liu from the School of Agriculture and Environment, is learning about the propagation and reproductive biology of juniper plants. There are currently 482 Juniperus communis seedlings at varying stages of juvenile development. The plan is to progress to trialing in-field plantings from these New Zealand-derived plants.
Early indications are that the New Zealand berries may exhibit unique attributes that could enhance the value of the berries, and therefore New Zealand-made product in international markets.
Plant researchers helping Aotearoa become a global gin palace. Got to love science!