In response, the supermarket chain introduced three new gins from local distilleries to several of its shops this week.
Ramsbury Gin (exclusive to Waitrose; £35, 70cl) is produced by Ramsbury Distillery near Marlborough in Wiltshire. It is stocked in 10 Waitrose shops across Wiltshire and West Berkshire.
Cotswolds Dry Gin (£37, 70cl) is from the Cotswolds Distillery, which was founded just three years ago in the village of Stourton in Warwickshire. It has been added to 10 Waitrose shops across the Cotswold area.
Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin (£40, 70cl) is from a small-batch distillery at Bedale in North Yorkshire. It is on shelves in six Waitrose branches across Yorkshire.
In recent years, Waitrose has worked with local distilleries across the UK to bring more artisan gins to its shelves, many of which had never been stocked in supermarkets before.
The retailer has long supported small suppliers and sells more than 2,500 locally and regionally sourced products from over 600 producers.
Waitrose spirits buyer John Vine said: “Gin is now the most popular spirit we sell, having overtaken whisky earlier this year.
“Gin from local and regional distilleries has become particularly popular. There’s been a shift towards people sipping the spirit before their meal as an aperitif. So artisan gins, which tend to be infused with unique flavours, really appeal for this purpose. Our customers are also looking for local gins in a bid to support smaller suppliers.”
David Goddard, local and regional assistant buyer at Waitrose, added: “Working with local British suppliers is really important to Waitrose and we’re thrilled to be adding Ramsbury, Cotswolds and Masons’ gins to our shelves.
“A number of independent gin distilleries have popped up across the country in recent years and we’re always on the lookout for more to work with.
“We’d encourage any suppliers interested in stocking their gin on our shelves to get in touch. It’s always a pleasure supporting smaller businesses in their journey to reaching their goals – whether that’s stocking their products in a few of our branches, or gaining a national listing.”
Waitrose has 354 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 64 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations.