When will the Peat run out??

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When will the Peat run out??

Postby b_chris » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:26 pm

Given that peat is a finite resource, how long will it be until that unfortunate day occurs......


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Postby SpiritofShetland » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:38 pm

Peat is a renewable resource, since it's really just halfrotted plantmaterials.

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Postby hpulley » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:00 pm

I've read that the peat supplies of some distilleries are getting low, Laphroaig especially though they only malt a small percentage of their barley anyways. I haven't heard that the supply for Port Ellen maltings is running low. The resource is renewable, so long as use doesn't outstrip replenishment. You can't use green peat, it must be good and rotted.


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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:16 pm

I remember either reading something on this or was it Jim McEwan speaking about it at the Munich Whisky Festival ....

Anyway, the Peat on Islay is good for a few hundred years yet and yes, it is renewable, albeit slowly.

I will try and find where I found the full story and post further details here.

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:20 pm

If you want to learn more about peatlands or bogs as we call them in Ireland go to the following.

Bord na Móna (The Turf Board)


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Postby kallaskander » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:27 pm

Hi there,

according to the British Forrestry Commission there are 124.000 hectars of blanket bogs managed by the commission, most of it in Scotland.


That does not include the other forms of bogs, moores or mires. Islay is covered to 70% with peat.
May be Laphroaig is at the end of the peat harvest on the moor areas that belong to the distillery. But that anyone should run out of peat on Islay seems improbable.
Industrial peat cutting which is the biggest threat to the peat moores produces 90% for gardening purposes. As oil gas and coal are the heating materials of today, the peat in Scotland will last for a while and I can not imagine that the demand of the Scottish distilleries alone will be able to exhaust it.

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcgn1.pd ... /fcgn1.pdf

Table 1 on page 1 gives the figures for peat lands in the UK.



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Postby b_chris » Wed Jul 19, 2006 9:16 pm


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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:14 am

We discussed this before somewhere, and I cited Andrew Jefford's Peat Smoke And Spirit at the time. He cites an estimate of 5,000 years' worth on Islay, and world-wide sustainability of this "finite resource which renews itself only very slowly." "Globally, two-thirds of peat is burnt as fuel...and around a third used for horticulture; its use in whisky production is statistically insignificant." (p196) Remember, peat was used originally because it was the available fuel; now it is pretty much only a flavoring agent.

b_chris (and anyone else interested), Jefford's book is a must-read for anyone interested in whisky production generally, and in Islay in particular.

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Postby Admiral » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:39 am

I recall reading once - might have been in MJ's companion? - that the peat supplies on Orkney are expected to keep Highland Park in business for the next 400 years.

After that?

Oh well, even though it's the Water of Life, I sincerely doubt I'll be around by then. :wink:


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