INDEPENDENT CATEGORIES


There are thousands of brilliant specialist independent retailers scattered across the country and this year we have the following categories open to retailers with up to 10 stores.

How to Enter


It is FREE to enter and there is no limit to the number of categories you can enter.

We require independent retailers to fill out an entry form, listing why they deserve to win the prize in a specific category. Each independent category has its own set of criteria, so please check the guidelines below before entering.

Click on the 'Enter Now' button for the category you wish to enter. You can add further categories to your basket once you have created or logged into your account. Entries can be saved to basket and completed at a later date.

Deadline for entering independent categories: Monday August 3, 2020

Judging Process


When the entry deadline has passed, all entries are read and shortlisted by the Drinks Retailing editorial team.

Each of the shortlisted retailers are visited by an independent judge in order to assess the standard of retailing. Once all the store visits are completed, the judge then reports his findings back to a final judging panel, where the winners are decided.*

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday February 2, 2021 at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. All finalists are invited to attend the awards as guests of Drinks Retailing magazine. Plus for all independent finalists there is a paid-for overnight stay at a London hotel.

* Please note: our judging process may differ slightly whilst we navigate the COVID19 situation.  

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This award will go to the independent cider retailer that has done the most to champion cider and made it a core element in the success of their business in the past year. Cider should be a substantial and growing part of the business.

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This award will go to the independent beer retailer that has done the most to champion beer and made it a core element in the success of their business in the past year. Beer should be a substantial and growing part of the business.

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This award will go to the independent wine retailer that has done the most to champion wine and made it a core element in the success of their business in the past year. Wine should be a substantial and growing part of the business.

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This award will go to the independent spirits retailer that has done the most to champion spirits and made it a core element in the success of their business in the past year. Spirits should be a substantial and growing part of the business.

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This award will go to the best all-round independent drinks retailer. To win this award you will have to demonstrate excellence in range in ALL major drinks categories - beers, wines and spirits – as well as overall commercial success in the past year.
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This award will be given to the independent convenience store, multiple branch, fascia group member or franchise outlet that has most effectively used beers, ciders, wines and/or spirits to improve their overall business.

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This award is open to chains of 2-10 company-owned and managed shops that has demonstrated its own commercial success and contributed to the overall health of the specialist drinks retailing sector.

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This award will go to the independent drinks retailer that has most effectively combined on-trade and off-trade elements to contribute to the success of the business in the past year. It is open to drinks all-rounders and those who specialise in either wine, beer, spirits or cider.

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This award will be given to the department store or high-end retailer that has done the most to champion wines, spirits and beers of exceptional quality, driving genuine value into the market and promoting the drinks trade as one capable of standing toe-to-toe with any other luxury industry.

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This award will go to the independent drinks retailer that has most effectively used a range of social media platforms to grow the profile and sales of their business. Judges will take into account the creative elements of posts along with evidence of how the reach of social media is generating tangible commercial benefits. Volume of followers will be considered in the judging process but will not be the sole criteria for making the award. The award is for activity related to main business social media accounts, not those of individuals working within it.

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This award recognises the achievements of retailers who have recently joined the industry. The award will go to the small multiple or independent retailer who has set up a new operation within the last two years (since August 1, 2018). It is open to all-round drinks shops and those who specialise in either wine, beer, spirits or cider. Judges will be looking to recognise true rising stars who have successfully built a new business with flair and determination.

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This will go to the best single retail drinks promotion by an independent during any period between May 2019 and July 2020. The judges will look for promotions that genuinely stand out in the market and evidence of commercial success as a direct result of the promotion. The winning promotion will be an original idea generated by the retailer NOT promotions run as part of wider activity by generic marketing organisations, suppliers, symbol groups, cash and carries or other wholesalers. The promotion entered can be within any category of alcoholic drinks, or BWS as a whole.

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This award will go to the wholesale supplier of alcoholic drinks (or any particular type of drink such as wine, beer, whisky etc) that has demonstrated the highest standards of customer service and excellence in product range to allow off-trade retailers to create and operate successful businesses.

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This award will go to the independent or multiple online drinks business that, in the opinion of the judges, has consistently achieved the highest standards in customer service and sales performance in the past year. The judges will be looking for businesses that have achieved significant growth through customer recruitment and retention. Online businesses must supply their full web address.

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