Aldi Irish Cream grabs top award

Emma Woollacott
Ballycastle Irish Cream
Ballycastle Irish Cream

Once again, Aldi has fended off stiff competition from pricier vendors to win a prestigious drinks industry award.

The budget supermarket's £4.29 Ballycastle Irish Cream has been crowned a 'Master' spirit at the Spirits Business Liqueur Masters awards. It shares the top spot with Mozart Distillerie White Chocolate Cream - which sells for £17.95 at Harrods.

The Aldi liqueur is a blend of fresh Ballyrashane dairy cream and triple-distilled Irish whiskey, described by the company as the perfect after-dinner treat. And the panel of judges agreed, describing the drink as "everything you'd expect from a cream liqueur – thick, creamy and luscious."

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Judge Pritesh Mody, founder of World of foor and drink company Zing, added that it had "a good balance of flavour and richness with no cloying mouthfeel, which can often be very typical of this category".
And the supermarket managed to pick up other awards too, with ten of its liqueurs, whiskys and gins winning the judges' approval. It also scooped a one-off 'Consistency in Excellence' trophy, recognising the overall high quality of its drinks range.

Aldi - like its rival budget supermarket Lidl - consistently wins awards for its top-end booze. Last year, at the International Spirits Challenge, its £10 Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin saw off rivals costing up to five times as much to take home a silver medal.

Earlier this month, its £7.99 Exquisite Collection Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc was awarded a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge.

And the store recently launched a premium range of alcohol in time for Christmas, all at knock-down prices. These include a £76 bottle of vintage Hungarian dessert wine Chateau Pajzos TokajiAszu 6 Puttonyos 2008 for just £18.99 and a Glen Marnoch 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, which might usually cost up to £90, for only£29.90.

The aim of all this is to get middle-class shoppers through the door, with the hope that after snapping up these high-quality boozy offerings, they'll go on to buy more.

And the Irish Cream win could be particularly significant in this strategy, given the time of year and the popularity of similar offerings elsewhere. A recent poll from Waitrose Cellar found that rival Baileys Irish Cream was the UK's joint favourite Christmas drink, along with red wine, with each winning 20% of the vote.

"We constantly strive to offer our customers the cream of the crop," says Tony Baines, MD, buying at Aldi, "and our spirits portfolio is no exception."

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