Aldi hops onto saké trend

Aldi has hopped onto the saké trend with the introduction of its first premium saké, which is retailing for under £4.

The discounter is selling a 330ml Sawanotsuru Saké (RRP: £3.99) nationwide, that comes presented in a traditional saké box. The 330ml format was “perfect for two taster glasses”, the retailer said, adding that it clocked in at twenty-eight times cheaper than similar sized bottles at London’s popular Japanese restaurant Nobu.

Joint managing director of corporate buying at Aldi Tony Baines said demand for Japanese cuisine is growing in the UK and the retailer wanted to make it easier and more accessible for people to enjoy Japanese culture at home.

“We pride ourselves on offering consumers with all sorts of tastes and backgrounds a chance to enjoy quality wines and spirits at great prices, and we believe this saké will be a big hit,” he said.

According to research by on-trade distributor Bibendum, who has stocked sakés since 2014, demand for the fermented rice ‘wine’ has grown, with the market expanding around 240% in the last 10 years.

Interest has primarily been driven by Japanese and Asian fusion restaurants, although this had started to broaden in recent years to include a more diverse set of sommeliers, bartenders and wine professionals as well as crossing-over into the off-trade.

Japanese saké producers exhibited at the London Wine Fair for the first time last year on the back of growing on-trade interest in Japanese rice wine.

It follows the launch of new WSET, saké Sommelier Association (SSA) and saké Service Institute’s (SSI) saké qualifications.

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