The most expensive gin ever to hit the shelves of a multiple grocer has made its debut at Waitrose.

Although The London Gin has been launched at an introductory price of £19.99, at the end of May it will revert to its usual price of £24.99 - £4 more expensive than Beefeater 24, which entered the off-trade with a listing in Waitrose last week.

Brand manager Andrew Sinclair admitted that the gin, which was previously available only in high-end and independent outlets such as Harrods, Selfridges and northern branches of Booths, was the priciest gin on offer at Waitrose.

However, he claimed that he didn't expect this to deter shoppers from trying the drink.

"In spite of cutbacks in shoppers' spending, we are confident that this is the ideal time to move into a multiple, as consumer interest in gin heightens as summer approaches."