The 2023 Drinks Retailing Awards was host to an array of innovative and forward-thinking independent retailers that are transforming the off-trade for the better. From up and coming newbies to established drinks retailers, the DRAs highlighted some of the most outstanding independents in the country.
York-based retailer Field & Fawcett was crowned Independent Drinks Retailer of the Year for its high-quality offerings across the board including premium spirits and great-value wines.
Focusing in on wine, Dorset’s Vineyards was awarded Independent Wine Retailer of the Year after expanding its range and developing its in-store events.
In beer, Cambridgeshire’s The Filling Station came out on top, winning the Independent Beer & Cider Retailer of the Year award.
Heading further North, Leeds-based Latitude Wine & Liquor Merchant won the Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year award thanks to its expansive range and exceptional staff expertise.
New independents made waves at the 2023 DRAs, with SugarBird Wines in Aberdeen securing the Newcomer of the Year title. Long-standing indies also made their mark, with Hedonism Wines winning the Luxury Retailer of the Year award after celebrating its 10th birthday in 2022.
Convenience stores have proved themselves to be backbone of UK off-trade, and Convenience Drinks Retailer of the Year, Costcutter Meopham, is no exception, introducing Bestway’s Bargain Booze offering at a co-branded revamp in the Kent village of Meopham.
Diogenes the Dog, a wine bar and shop based in London, was announced as the Hybrid Retailer of the Year, while last year’s Hybrid winner, Loki Wine, took home the Regional Chain of the Year award for its adventurous range of wine and ever-growing beer selection.
Finally, turning to the online categories, the Online Excellence Award was snapped up by Secret Bottle Shop – a Hereford store that has successfully harnessed ecommerce to reinforce its bricks-and-mortar business. Specialist Online Drinks Retailer of the Year was awarded to Master of Malt, which boasts a 12,000+ product range with a user-friendly website.
Meanwhile, The Whisky Exchange made DRAs history by winning the first-ever Outstanding Contribution award for its continued dedication to top quality spirits retailing.
Drinks Retailing editor Lucy Britner said: “From the initial round of entry forms, through to interviews and mystery site visits, we have scoured the country for the very best in the independent off-trade. Our 2023 winners have shown exceptional vision and ingenuity in developing new sites, evolving existing ones, introducing different drinks and keeping their local audiences engaged.”
Samantha Halliday, commercial director, added: “This year’s DRAs saw a wide range of innovative independents expressing their own individuality – every indie finalist was a deserving winner and these were among the toughest categories to judge due to the exceptional quality of the entries. Congratulations to all of our winners.”
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Independent Drinks Retailer of the Year – Field & Fawcett
Independent Wine Retailer of the Year – Vineyards
Independent Beer & Cider Retailer of the Year – The Filling Station
Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year – Latitude Wine & Liquor Merchant
Newcomer of the Year – SugarBird Wines
Luxury Retailer of the Year – Hedonism Wines
Convenience Drinks Retailer of the Year – Costcutter Meopham
Hybrid Retailer of the Year – Diogenes the Dog
Regional Chain of the Year – Loki Wine
Online Excellence Award – Secret Bottle Shop
Specialist Online Drinks Retailer of the Year – Master of Malt
Supermarket of the Year – Marks & Spencer
Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year – Marks & Spencer
Multiple RTD Retailer of the Year – Marks & Spencer
Multiple Beer Retailer of the Year – Tesco
Multiple Cider Retailer of the Year – Asda
Multiple Spirits Retailer of the Year – Sainsbury’s
Multiple Low & No Retailer of the Year – Morrisons
Sustainable Drinks Retailer of the Year – Co-op
Convenience Chain of the Year – Spar
Drinks Buying Team of the Year – Waitrose
Outstanding Contribution – The Whisky Exchange