Aldi own label Gin has beaten rivals costing up to six times more, at the International Spirits Challenge. It's a handy award for the discount supermarket, given that gin remains so fashionable.
Since 2016 was named the 'Year of Gin', our enthusiasm for the spirit hasn't waned. It was recently added to the Office of National Statistics basket of goods after an absence of 13 years - reflecting the fact it's now a household staple - and gin sales have smashed the £1 billion barrier.
Two different Aldi gins took silver medals at the International Spirits Challenge - beating pricey alternatives from Hendrick's Gin to Tanqueray Rangpur - and Beefeater Burrough's Reserve Gin - which sells for an astonishing £63.35 a bottle.
The Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin, which costs just £9.97, added to the three industry awards it has already picked up over the past 12 months. The achievement is all the more impressive for the fact that it's cheaper than most of the supermarket own brands - including Tesco gin and Sainsbury's Basics Gin.
The gin started winning awards back in 2013. At that point it sparked a host of taste tests across the media, and booze expert Jilly Goolden awarded it nine out of ten, declaring it both classy and cheap.
Aldi's Topaz Premium Gin (£13.99) also picked up a silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge.
The awards follow on the heels of Aldi's award for Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year at the Drinks Retailing Awards. In 2016, Aldi collected 225 awards for its beers, wines and spirits range alone, including the International Wine & Spirit Competition 'Innovator of the Year' title.
It's a key part of the discount supermarket's strategy - to draw new middle class customers with well-priced award-winning alcohol, with the hope of converting them into regular shoppers while they are in store. UK and Ireland chief executive Matthew Barnes says: "Some people shop with us first to try the wine and then come back to do a weekly shop – so its very important to us."
It appears many may also be coming for the gin now too. After-all, what could be more middle class than a gin and tonic - even if it does come from Aldi?
Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
Save money on shopping: ten great tricks
The more work you are prepared to put in, the more you stand to save. If you put your shopping list into mysupermarket.com, you can identify where each individual items is cheapest, and can technically buy every single item at its lowest possible price.
If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, a reasonable compromise is to shop at two supermarkets: once at the weekend and once mid-week. You can buy each item at the cheapest of the two shops, and save money without devoting hours to shopping.
There are several deal-sharing sites, including hotukdeals.com and latestdeals.co.uk. Most of them have a ‘freebies’ section, where you can get items completely free, and all have a section where they post fantastic deals that are well worth taking advantage of.
They will often point the way to coupons for brilliant discounts too.
The more time you have spare to spend looking for these, the more you can save.
It’s worth following your favourite brands on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also important to pick up in-house magazines, try your free local paper, and check any letters from supermarket loyalty schemes for your vouchers. If you have a Nectar card, visit the website before you shop, so you can upload the latest deals to your card.
While you’re in-store, keep your eyes peeled for promotions on packets, and on receipts. Often the deal-hunting websites will offer a short cut to many of these, but if you have the opportunity to do some legwork, you will find plenty of others.
Compare the price of your branded goods (after you use the coupon) with the cheapest supermarket alternative. If the discount makes it the cheapest option, then feel free to use it immediately.
However, if it doesn’t bring the price down below the own brand price, then don't throw it away. Hang onto the coupon, and check Mysuupermarket.com every few days to see if there’s an offer running on the brand at any time before the coupon expires. A deal plus a coupon is often the cheapest option.
Prices change all the time, but it pays to have a shopping list annotated with the usual price - or an old receipt - on hand when you are shopping. When something is on sale, compare it to the usual selling price from your list, to decide if it’s really as good value as it purports to be.
The frugal experts have decent storage areas at home, so if there’s a very special deal on washing powder or toilet paper, tins or toiletries, they can stock up for a few months at a knock-down price. It’s not generally worth doing on fresh produce, or packets with a short shelf life though, because throwing something away that’s out of date will undo all of your good work.
There can be some incredible bargains in the ‘yellow sticker’ sections of the supermarket. Most stores will have a spot for fruit and vegetable reductions, somewhere for chilled food price cuts, one for bakery products, and a final one for those with a longer shelf life that may be a bit battered, or separated from the outer packaging. Check them all for a possible discount.
The ’yellow sticker’ items will usually be reduced at least twice a day: once in the afternoon and once later in the evening. If you can wait to shop at around 7.30pm or 8pm you can get astonishing discounts.
If you want to time your shop exactly, then your best bet is to ask in store when they do their final reductions - don't be shy!
Get to know the rules around freezing ‘yellow sticker’ items, so you can buy when they are cheapest and use over the following weeks and months.
Don't assume something is perishable without checking. Everything from cheese to beansprouts is fine to freeze as long as you treat them correctly (beansprouts need blanching, chilling in ice water, and freezing immediately).
It’s never worth buying something just because it’s cheap: you also have to be able to factor it into your life. If you can't immediately think how you would use that over-ripe avocado, a pack of cut-price tongue or kippers, then don't buy them.