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The Coming Peat War

Environment Whisky

In Scotland, there's a burgeoning environmental movement to ban the harvesting and burning of peat, one of the world's dirtiest fuels. The mining of peat is about as destructive as strip mining. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been laid waste by centuries of peat extraction.
Only a small percentage of that harvest is used in the distilling of whisky, but it's absolutely crucial. That's why Diageo, maker of two of the peatiest whiskies in the world -- Lagavulin and Caol Ila -- has locked-up the rights to continue harvesting peat on Islay until there is no more peat to harvest -- a couple hundreds years' worth, by one estimate.
Environmentalists have gone predictably berserk, even though -- we can't say this enough -- the extraction of peat for whiskey is a small percentage of the problem. (And, it should be noted, an extremely high-value use of a finite resources.) Still, there are peat wars on the way, and as whisky drinkers we're glad distillers are thinking ahead.


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