2018’s Drinks Business Awards: profiling the recipients

Independent Retailer of the Year

Winner

Borough Wines & Beers

Offering the convenience of a local shop with the scale of a larger retailer, Borough Wines and Beers is one of the capital’s most innovative the ever growing independent retailers. 2017 was no exception, with the retailer significantly expanding its footprint across London in the past 12 months into the south and west of the capital. It opened two new Borough Wines & Beers shops in Battersea Park and Turnham Green, it’s eighth and ninths outlets, with an as yet unconfirmed tenth opening in the offing.

Digital investment also saw the retailer boost its presence online, and help improve the service offered to customers in store, with an improved Click & Collect that meant orders could be ready to collect in store within 24 hours. In store, customers could browse and buy products not physically on the shelves – but available centrally – via new till-point tablets.

This has allowed the retailer to transcend the limits of physical space and increase its spirits selection alone to more than 200 lines. Online, website visits were over 100% higher than the same period last year and the value of online sales increased by 154%. Declared both courageous and innovative by judges, the retailer was also commended for its growing focus on non-alcoholic drinks, and for its positive messages on drinking in moderation.

Special commendation

Taurus Wines

Highly commended in the category, Taurus Wines impressed judges with its dedication and commitment to growth, successfully crowdfunding £280,000 through Crowdcube.com within 48 hours with the release of 10% of its business to investors. With this money, it has expanded from its former 300-sqft shop to a newly renovated 400-year-old 2,000 sq ft barn in Bramley, near Guildford. Taking steps toward becoming a ‘destination’ wine shop outside of London, the barn boasts enomatic machines, a cellar and fine wine climate-controlled cabinet and custom-made shelves with remote-controlled spotlights.

Shortlist

Borough Wines & Beers

House of Townend

Jeroboams

Taurus Wines

The Whisky Exchange

The Drinks Retailer of the Year

Winner

Waitrose

Waitrose won our judges over this year due not only to the quality and strength of its wine offering but also its decision to invest in the category in a “classy and professional” way via the re-investment into in store specialists and staff training courses. “People talk about education and a lot of the time it can be window dressing but Waitrose know what they’re about and are delivering strong results in a polarised market,” said one judge.

Shortlist

Aldi

Master of Malt

The Co-op

Waitrose

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