Entries for the 2024 awards are now open to specialist wine stores, independent bottle shops, spirits boutiques, high street hybrids and the best of the internet. In fact, just about anybody with a significant part of their business in the off-trade can enter, apart from the major supermarkets, at drinksretailingawards.co.uk

Here are a few tips to help make sure your entry hits the spot.

1. If you don’t have one from previous years, open an account on the site. Then pick your categories. You can enter more than one category, but you must submit a different entry for each one. If that sounds like a lot of work, we’re quite happy for you to copy and paste material relevant to both entries from one to the other.

2. You’ll be asked for some basic information about the business, including commercial data such as sales growth. Naturally, this can make some people nervous, but rest assured it’s just between you and a small cohort of first-round judges and strictly not for publication. The idea is to give the judges a general idea of the direction of travel of the business as they decide who to put through to the next round. Not doing so can hinder your chances against other entrants who do.

3. After that, you’ll be asked a series of questions to get more of a flavour about the business day-to-day: how you market it, events and other promotions, staff training and so on. Each question has an upper word count. As the number of entries is always well into three figures, this makes the judging process much simpler. If it doesn’t seem much, because you have lots to tell, don’t worry. You can enter your information as a series of bullet points without having to worry about purple prose. It is, after all, a retailing competition, not a writing one. In fact, keeping it direct and digestible can work in your favour by taking the judges straight to the main points you want them to take on board.

4. Everyone who enters is going to be good at what they do. So, to stand out, focus on the things that make your business genuinely different from all the rest. Sometimes a single inventive piece of innovation that’s smashed it out the park can cut through more than a dozen unoriginal things. And if you can, include data or customer feedback that shows why what you’re talking about was a success.

5. Actually complete your entry. You can save an entry as you go along and return to complete it on another occasion. But hitting “save” doesn’t mean you have entered. To do that, you’ll need to hit the submit button on the very last page. You will then receive an email confirmation. No email means you probably haven’t quite got there, so go back and give it another try. Your entry will be in an online-style shopping basket, but this will show £0.00 at all times and, the best bit of all – you don’t have to pay anything