First ever gin made from surplus table grapes to launch across UK

A major British fruit supplier and a craft spirits producer have come up with a unique way to recycle an estimated 166 million surplus table grapes – by turning them into premium gin.

Called HYKE, the gin goes on sale exclusively at 300 Tesco stores on Monday 18 March and supports the supermarket’s commitment to cut food waste.

Each year fruit supplier Richard Hochfeld Ltd, based in Kent, loses the equivalent of 1.4 million punnets of table grapes in the packing process. 

But in a combined effort to tackle food waste the company has linked up with innovative West Sussex distiller Foxhole Spirits, and Tesco.

And the launch couldn’t come at a better time with gin sales at a 50 year high and demand for premium gin at Tesco rocketing by nearly 90 per cent in the last year.

Andrew Hargreaves, Tesco Spirits Buying Manager said: 

“We are always looking at innovative ways to tackle food waste and work closely with our suppliers to do just that.

“There couldn’t be a better time to launch HYKE. Gin is the drink of the moment with demand for premium quality varieties rocketing by nearly 90 per cent in the last year.

“As a result of the boom we now stock about 80 different gins and we think that with its unique taste and exceptional quality HYKE will go down well with the growing number of gin connoisseurs.”

Karen Cleave, Technical Director at Richard Hochfeld Ltd said: 

“For packing, the grapes are cut and trimmed to fit the punnets, leaving loose grapes and tiny bunches that can’t be sold as fresh.   

“The size of the trade means that these lovely fresh grapes – equivalent to the weight of about 3.5 blue whales – end up as compost, animal feed or in an anaerobic digester. 

“Now we’re taking them on a delicious journey which respects the provenance of the grapes and supports our commitment, as one of Tesco’s biggest suppliers, to cut waste.” 

HYKE gets its distinctive character from both the grape spirit and a unique blend of botanicals, inspired by the grapes’ origins in Africa and South America.

James Oag-Cooper, MD and co-founder of Foxhole Spirits commented: 

“We knew that there was something special that could and ‘should’ be done with this quality by-product, so we applied our expertise and craftsmanship to the challenge.

“The result is a totally unique product which tastes exceptionally delicious, is beautifully presented, sustainably conscious and yet still affordable.

“Its rich, sweet citrus characters, followed by velvet-textured spice and complex aromatics combine to make HYKE Gin versatile enough for a classic G&T, a refreshing spritz or a sophisticated martini.”

HYKE gin will be sold exclusively at Tesco, in 50cl bottles with a strength of 40% ABV. It costs £24.

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