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RASHMAYA, Lebanon: The quality of Lebanon's vines is well-known, but a small and dedicated group of entrepreneurs have found that the country's geography and local produce make it ideal for something stronger: gin. The primary botanical used to flavor gin is juniper, which grows naturally in the country's higher terrain. As a result of widespread bird hunting in Lebanon, Khattar warned that this key ingredient is under threat.It was a chance encounter with the bush on a hike that caused Jamil Haddad, the founder of Colonel Brewery, to consider branching out from his craft beer: He has been selling gin made locally in Batroun for the last two months.The advantage of gin, Khattar said, is that it is not overly demanding and is relatively easy to distill.
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