The news of a potential peat shortage may not cause a much of an outcry as aporkalypse or the great chicken wing crisis of Super Bowl XLVII, but for whiskey lovers it’s serious business.

Peated Scotches, the most famous of which come from Islay, get their smoky, earthy flavor, which from barley that has been dried over burning peat. The rise in the popularity of peated spirits such as Laphroaig and Lagavulin caused alarm for Scotch enthusiast Benjamin Phelan over at Slate.

See, peat is not a renewable resource, causing him to wonder whether the world may face a Scotch shortage in the near future. At the current usage levels, there is enough peat for another 2,000 years of Scotch production. So, nothing to be concerned about, right? However, peat can also be used as an energy source (it is an early stage of coal). So, given the current fossil fuel crunch, peated whiskey might come into competition with energy needs at some point.

But if that happens, we have a backup plan. According to a recent study conducted at Oxford University, the environment in which whiskey is consumed can have a direct impact on how it tastes. So we’ll just drink our unpeated whiskey next to a fireside, which is supposed to lend notes of “age and wood.”

[via Slate and Canoe]