Gin produced using surplus table grapes will be launched in the UK on and off-trade next week.
Fruit supplier Richard Hochfield imports around 500,000 tonnes of the fresh grapes from Africa and South America every year. However, 2.7% of them – or about 1.4 million punnets’ worth – are not suitable for sale.
Rather than send them for composting, anaerobic digestion (AD) or to be used as animal feed, the “waste” fruit is now being used to produce premium gin. “We knew that there was something special that could and ‘should’ be done with this quality by-product,” explained Foxhole Spirits co-founder James Oag-Cooper.
The grapes are pressed dry, with the juice made into wine. This is then sent to a distillery and turned into grape spirit, which is used to make the new gin, called Hyke. The skin, pulp and pips are sent to AD.
Foxhole said that using table grapes rather than wine grapes gives the spirit a “consistent flavour profile in each and every batch”.
Hyke gin will be available through Highball Brands to the on-trade. Some 300 Tesco stores will also be stocking it.