Waitrose becomes first UK supermarket to stock Japanese gin

Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to stock a Japanese gin following the launch of Beam Suntory’s Roku gin in store and online this week, priced at £30 a bottle.

The Japanese gin will available to buy in stores for £30 (70cl) from this week and can also be purchased online.

Roku, the first premium Japanese craft gin in Beam Suntory’s portfolio, is named after the Japanese word for six. As the name suggests, it contains six Japanese botanicals including sakura flower, sakura leaf, yuzu peel, sencha tea, gyokuro tea and sansho pepper.

Each botanical is harvested in accordance with the concept of ‘shun,’ meaning they are harvested at their peak flavour, before being distilled using a selection of different pot stills and blended in Osaka, Japan.

Eight further “traditional” botanicals are also used in the finished gin which include juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, angelica seeds, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, bitter orange peel and lemon peel.

Waitrose recommends serving Roku gin and tonic with slithers of fresh ginger.

John Vine, Waitrose spirits buyer, commented: “We are proud of our range of British gin but there is still room to experiment with drinks from further afield. We are confident that Roku will be popular with gin fans and it’s just the tonic for showing off to guests.

“The House of Suntory has pushed the botanical boundaries. The six more unusual Japanese ingredients sit alongside those we are more familiar with including juniper berries, cinnamon and cardamom”.

The gin comes in a hexagonal bottle with a label printed on traditional ‘washi’ paper.

In July last year, Beam Suntory announced its intention to expand Roku’s reach outside of Japan for the first time, aiming to target international markets from September.

Waitrose’s gin portfolio includes over 40 different expressions with international examples including Spain’s Gin Mare and Audemus Pink Pepper gin from France.

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