Independent Retailer Entry and Judging Process


Independent businesses enter the categories most suited to their businesses and complete an online entry form giving details about their business and why they should win. Once the entry deadline has passed, all submissions are read and shortlisted by the Drinks Retailing editorial team.

An independent judge completes mystery store visits for each of the shortlisted retailers in order to assess the standard of retailing and conducts an interview with the owners of each shortlisted business to drill down into their entry further. Once all the mystery store visits and interviews 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 held at The Dorchester hotel in London on Tuesday February 2, 2020. Independent finalists are invited to attend the event free of charge as a guest of Drinks Retailing and our category sponsors.  

Enter Now!


Entries close: August 20, 2021

 

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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you made beers, wines and spirits an important focus of your businesses as a whole?
  • What changes have you made to your beers, wines and spirits range in the past year to reflect changes in the market?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of beers, wines and spirits in the past year?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in your beers, wines and spirits section?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business generally and BWS in particular during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you combined off-trade and on-trade elements of retailing to create a successful business?
  • What changes have you made to your drinks range in the past year?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales in the past year?
  • What areas of the drinks market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg particular categories, styles, countries, production methods, regions, producers etc)? 
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in beers, wines and spirits?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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

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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you made beer & cider an important focus for your businesses?
  • What changes have you made to your beer & cider range in the past year to reflect changes in the market?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of beer & cider in the past year?
  • What areas of the beer & cider market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg particular styles, local products, packaging types, countries etc)?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beer & cider business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in beer & cider?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business generally and beer in particular during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?
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.
This item is not available

Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why is it important for you to be a drinks all-rounder and how do you achieve balance in your offering? 
  • What changes have you made to your beers, wines and spirits range in the past year to reflect changes in the market?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of beers, wines and spirits in the past year?
  • What areas of the drinks market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg product types, regions, countries etc)?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in all parts of your beers, wines and spirits section?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business generally and the main drinks categories during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you made spirits an important focus of your businesses a whole?
  • What changes have you made to your spirits range in the past year to reflect changes in the market?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of spirits in the past year?
  • What sub-categories of the spirits market do you specialise in or champion above others?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in spirits?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business generally and spirits in particular during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you made wine an important focus of your businesses a whole?
  • What changes have you made to your wine range in the past year? 
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of wine in the past year?
  • What areas of the wine market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg particular styles, countries, production methods, regions etc)?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your wine business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in wine?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business generally and wine in particular during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why and how have you made beers, wines and spirits an important focus of your businesses as a whole?
  • What changes have you made to your beers, wines and spirits range in the past year?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of beers, wines and spirits in the past year?
  • What areas of the drinks market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg categories, styles, countries, production methods, regions, producers etc)?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in beers, wines and spirits?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy? 
  • Why should you win this award?

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 since August 1, 2019. The award targets independents or small chains with 10 or less stores. 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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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • How did you go about choosing the location, name and branding for your shop? 
  • What did you set out to achieve in building your drinks range (eg, in terms of pricing, variety, balance of different product types, target customers, suitability for the local market etc)?
  • Which categories within drinks have you placed particular emphasis on (eg, beer, whisky or wine … or particular countries, styles or regions etc)?
  • What approach have you taken to design, display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to build business? 
  • What changes have you made as you have gone along to fine-tune your offering?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

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.

This item is not available

Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • How have you made beers, wines and spirits an important focus of your businesses a whole?
  • Provide details of the location of stores and how you tailor your range and service to suit different locations.
  • What changes have you made to your beers, wines and spirits range in the past year?
  • What changes have you made in display, merchandising or in-store features to drive sales of drinks in the past year?
  • What areas of the drinks market do you specialise in or champion above others (eg categories, styles, countries, regions, producers, local products etc)?
  • How have you used events, marketing and promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How do you ensure your staff are equipped to advise customers on purchasing decisions in all areas of beers, wines and spirits?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

This award will go to the retailer with the best specialist presence in online drinks retailing, whose primary route to market is direct-to-consumer. This can include those dedicated to wine, beer or spirits, or those who sell a combination of these. Judges will look at commercial success in the past 12 months, alongside factors such as web design, innovation in customer engagement, service levels and evidence of positive customer feedback.

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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • Why do you believe you are the best online retailer in the drinks industry?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • Can you provide sales data from the past year? Is the business in growth and profitable?
  • What is your approach to building the range? How has it improved over the past year?
  • How have you gone about recruiting new customers?
  • How do you hang on to existing customers?
  • How have you encouraged higher basket spends and repeat purchases?
  • How quickly and accurately do you fulfil orders?
  • Have you succeeded with any innovations over the past year?
  • How did you adapt your approach to business during the Covid-19 lockdown, and how successful was this strategy?
  • Why should you win this award?

This award will go to the independent drinks retailing business that has demonstrated the most innovation, creativity and effectiveness in events and communications in the year. The judges will take into account the entrants' own events, retail promotions, digital and traditional marketing communications, and educational programmes, and look at how these have contributed to growth of the business. It is open to all-round drinks retailers and those who focus on particular product categories such as wine, beer and spirits.

This item is not available

Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • How have you used events and/or educational programmes to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How have you used traditional forms of marketing to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How have you used in-store or online retail promotions to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • How have you used social media to boost your beers, wines and spirits business in the past year?
  • What investment have you made to maximise the impact of your communications and events in terms of dedicated staff resources, technology, media costs or any other investment you think is relevant?
  • Can you highlight a particular piece of successful activity and give details about how it either attracted new customers or boosted sales?
  • What impact have your events, education activity, social media and other marketing had on revenue in the past year and how have you measured the success of each?
  • Why did you choose this category?
  • Why should you win this award?

This will go to the independent bricks and mortar drinks retailer that has most successfully launched into or grown their online and direct-to-consumer business since the start of 2020. It is open to all-round drinks retailers and those who specialise in wine, beer or spirits. Judges will look for excellence in range, service and customer satisfaction and evidence of how this revenue stream has contributed to the growth of the business as a whole, either on a local or national level.

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Along with providing information about your turnover and growth in sales the past year, you will also be asked the following questions during the entry process. You may wish to prepare your answers offline before you complete the online entry process. There is a 150 word limit for these questions.

  • When did you launch your online business?
  • How has your approach to online changed since 2020?
  • How has your online business grown since the start of 2020 and what evidence can you provide (eg, revenue, basket spends, overall customer numbers, first-time customers, repeat purchase levels etc)?
  • What proportion of your business is online versus bricks and mortar, and how has this changed since the start of 2020?
  • How big is your online range and how does this compare with your in-store offering?
  • Which drinks categories have sold particularly well through your online channel?
  • How have you recruited online customers and raised awareness of your online service?
  • How have you used online to increase your overall customer base and geographic reach?
  • How have you managed to develop relationships with your online customers?
  • What evidence can you provide of customer service and satisfaction levels?
  • Why should you win this award?