An annual celebration of excellence in off-trade, the Drinks Retailing Awards 2024 saw Stourbridge-based retailer The Wine Press take home the Independent Drinks Retailer of the Year award.

Held on February 6 at The Dorchester Hotel in London, the DRAs 2024 highlighted the most outstanding retailers in the country, including The Wine Press which was praised by judges for its first-rate customer service.

Dorset’s Vineyards was awarded Independent Wine Retailer of the Year for the second year running, while Harvey Nichols took home the Champagne & Sparkling Retailer of the Year award.

Independent Beer & Cider Retailer of the Year was awarded to Bath Road Beers in Cheltenham. The Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year went to The Whisky Exchange thanks to its ever-evolving range of exclusives and limited-edition products.

Tenaya Wine celebrated its first DRAs win, securing the Newcomer of the Year title. Renowned indies were also celebrated, with Birmingham’s Loki Wine being crowned Regional Chain of the Year for the second year in a row.

Known for its excellent BWS range including a Beer Cave, Jaz’s Premier in Grangemouth won the Convenience Drinks Retailer of the Year award. Finally, Vin Santo, a wine bar and shop based in Chester, was announced as the Hybrid Retailer of the Year after upgrading its selection of organic and natural wines.

Drinks Retailing editor Lucy Britner, said: “We continue to be blown away by the incredible standards in drinks retailing. Our winners were chosen from a shortlist of entrants who were able to demonstrate growth, innovation and excellent customer service. Our on-the-road judge Nigel Huddleston conducted mystery shops as well as interviews with the finalists, before feeding back to a panel of expert judges. To make it onto the shortlist is a huge achievement and to win is a mark of excellence. Congratulations to everyone.” 

Samantha Halliday, commercial director, added: “We saw exceptional standards once again from the independents this year. While there can only be one winner in each category, they are all heroes in their own right. These businesses have showcased innovation and business acumen. It’s truly satisfying to know that the winners will proudly display the DRA badge, a symbol of trust. Well done!”

MULTIPLES

A finalist in seven categories, Sainsbury’s took home the Supermarket of the Year award for consistent excellence across the board. 

This year also saw success for Waitrose, with the supermarket snapping up three awards: Multiple Low & No Alcohol Retailer of the Year, Multiple RTD Retailer of the Year and Sustainable Drinks Retailer of the Year. 

Following on from its Supermarket of the Year win in 2023, Marks & Spencer took home Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year after launching its single-varietal Expressions range last year. 

Turning to other drinks categories, Co-op won the Multiple Beer Retailer of the Year, as well as Convenience Chain of the Year, while Asda was awarded Multiple Cider Retailer of the Year. Elsewhere, Tesco won Multiple Spirits Retailer of the Year for its diverse range of big brand and emerging products. 

And finally, Drinks Buying Team of the Year was awarded to Majestic after a strong 2023 performance which saw the retailer’s second biggest Christmas trading period ever. 

Lucy Britner said: “Our multiples categories are judged using bespoke consumer research in partnership with Ipsos, as well as NIQ data, mystery store visits and input from industry experts. Sainsbury’s has performed very well across the board and it was a firm favourite with our judges. Congratulations to the team.”

Samantha Halliday added: “Congratulations to Sainsbury’s on this fantastic achievement. It’s no small feat in an extremely competitive market. Credit also to the supermarkets that received DRA awards – truly well-deserved. We trust that their customers will be equally thrilled.”

ONLINE AWARDS

Celebrating the best in ecommerce, the Online Drinks Retailer of the Year award was given to Christopher Piper Wines; a Devon-based retailer that adopted a fully digital business operation during the pandemic. 

Sip Champagnes, a dedicated Champagne retailer with a focus on independent producers, was awarded Specialist Online Drinks Retailer of the Year. 

FULL LIST OF WINNERS

  • Newcomer of the Year – Tenaya Wine
  • Convenience Drinks Retailer of the Year – Jaz’s Premier, Grangemouth
  • Independent Beer & Cider Retailer of the Year – Bath Road Beers
  • Multiple Cider Retailer of the Year – Asda
  • Multiple Beer Retailer of the Year – Co-op
  • Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year – The Whisky Exchange
  • Multiple Spirits Retailer of the Year – Tesco
  • Independent Wine Retailer of the Year – Vineyards
  • Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year – Marks & Spencer
  • Drinks Buying Team of the Year – Majestic 
  • Champagne & Sparkling Retailer of the Year – Harvey Nichols 
  • Regional Chain of the Year – Loki Wine
  • Multiple Low & No Alcohol Retailer of the Year – Waitrose 
  • Online Drinks Retailer of the Year – Christopher Piper Wines
  • Specialist Online Drinks Retailer of the Year – Sip Champagnes
  • Hybrid Retailer of the Year – Vin Santo
  • Convenience Chain of the Year – Co-op
  • Multiple RTD Retailer of the Year – Waitrose
  • Sustainable Drinks Retailer of the Year – Waitrose
  • Independent Drinks Retailer of the Year – The Wine Press
  • Supermarket of the Year – Sainsbury’s