Waitrose more than doubles local and regional gin range

UK supermarket Waitrose has more than doubled its local and regional gin range since the beginning of the year, with 13 new gins expected to hit the shelves by the end of March.

Henley’s Mr Hobbs Gin is one of 13 new expressions hitting the shelves this year.

For some of the gins due to be sold in Waitrose stores, it will be the first time that they have been stocked in a supermarket.

The gins, all of which are distilled by “small suppliers”, are produced within a 30-mile (approximately) radius of the stores.

This month’s new gins, which are also exclusive to Waitrose, include Buckinghamshire’s Mr Hobbs gin (launching in 11 stores), Bedfordshire’s Willow Tree Gin (launching in three stores), Kent’s Anno Gin (launching in 14 stores), Manchester’s Three Rivers Gin (launching in seven stores), Northumberland’s Alnwick Gin (launching in 4 stores) and Nelson’s Rhubarb and Custard Gin from Staffordshire which is launching in seven stores.

The new gin brands already in stores include Dorset’s Conker Gin (launched in 10 stores in February); City of London Dry Gin (launched in 18 shops in January), Marylebone Gin (launched in 18 stores in January) and Liverpool Gin (launched in three stores in January).

Other exclusive gins that have recently hit the shelves include Hampshire’s Silverback Gin (launched in 10 shops in February), Norfolk’s St Giles Gin (launched in seven stores in January) and the West Midlands’ Fifth Spire Gin (launched in seven stores in February).

David Goddard, local and regional assistant buyer at Waitrose, said: “The rise of craft gin certainly shows no sign of slowing – it’s the most popular spirit we sell. People across the country are experimenting with making their own gin cocktails which are becoming more exotic than ever. That’s why artisan gins, which are usually infused with unique flavours and aromas, really appeal to our customers.

“Over the past year we’ve been working closely with small, local distilleries across the country to bring more artisan gin to our shelves. It’s always great to work with smaller suppliers who might be just starting out or who have very local roots to some of our shops”.

Waitrose is also setting its sights further afield. In February, it became the first UK supermarket to stock a Japanese gin following the launch of Beam Suntory’s Roku gin in store and online.

In June last year, the retailer reported that gin sales surpassed those of all other spirits, rising by 20% year-on-year.

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