Drinks Business Awards 2015: the winners

Retailer of the year

db Awards 2015_HEL7892 copy

Nick Dolan and Zeph King of Real Ale

Winner: Real Ale

The judges’ decision to award this prize to small operator reflects the challenging time that major multiple retailers are clearly facing to the detriment of their performance this year. As the big players tread water in the battle for market share, Real Ale impressed with its dynamic approach that is helping to drive the UK craft beer category. In addition to a comprehensive but well-curated portfolio of its own, including a forthcoming own-label collection, the company is working with far larger players such as M&S to help them source craft beers from around the country. Now 10 years old, Real Ale’s expertise, enthusiasm and innovation is generating exciting growth for its own business and a halo effect for the craft beer category as a whole.

Shortlist:

• Aldi

• Real Ale

• Waitrose

Online Retailer of the Year

Online-retailer-of-the-year-db-Awards-2015_HEL7906-copyWinner: 31Dover

A new face in the fast-moving world of online retail, 31Dover has been trading since 2013 and really drew in the judges with its accessible, well-presented website and a neatly curated range that is especially strong on spirits.

Full of advice, videos and cocktail recipes, as well as offering a next-day gift delivery service, the content is fresh, appealing and uncrowded. “It’s speaking the language of the modern website,” said one judge as the panel decided that such an interesting new player in this increasingly important sector deserved highlighting to a wider audience.

Runner up: The Whisky Exchange

This online outlet does far more than its name suggests, offering a veritable treasure trove for all spirits fans, especially those in search of rare, obscure or truly special bottles.

Shortlist:

• 31Dover

• Laithwaites Wine

• The Whisky Exchange

• Waitrose

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