Waitrose adds Japanese gin to its spirits line up

Waitrose has confirmed it will be the first supermarket to introduce a gin made in Japan, which launches in the UK this week.

Roku, a craft gin from Japanese distillery, The House of Suntory, will be launching into the UK off-trade this week with Waitrose announcing early that it is listing the brand.

Roku means six in Japanese and the new craft gin boasts the same number of Japanese botanicals, including two styles of green tea (Sencha and Gyokuru), Yuzu, Sansho pepper along with Sakura (cherry blossom) flower and leaf. Each botanical has been harvested in accordance with the concept of ‘shun’, which means they are only harvested when they reach their peak flavour.

The signature way to serve Roku is with ice, tonic and then six slithers of fresh ginger.

Waitrose said sales of gin are up by 30% through its stores and so it is constantly searching for new styles to meet demand.

Its spirits buyer, John Vine, said: “We are proud of our range of British gin but there is still room to experiment with drinks from further afield. Japanese whisky once raised eyebrows but now wins awards and sits happily alongside established Scottish brands in the UK. 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 is available now at Waitrose stores and on WaitroseCellar.com priced at £30 for 70cl.