NOffLA Awards 2016: Winners and Honours announced

Joel Durand and Stephen Masterson of Blackrock Cellar won the award for NOffLA Off Licence of the Year 2017
Joel Durand and Stephen Masterson of Blackrock Cellar won the award for NOffLA Off Licence of the Year 2017

The National Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2017 have taken place in Dublin, with independent store Blackrock Cellar beating stiff competition to win the coveted award.

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25 January 2017 | 0

The 2017 Off-Licence of the Year Awards, awarded by the National Off-Licence Association, took place earlier this week at the Honourable Soceity of King’s Inns in Dublin. Overall winner on the night was Blackrock Cellar, an independent store in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

Blackrock Cellar was chosen for its exceptional customer service and top-qualilty products, along with an excellence in retail standards – the three main pillars on which the awards are judged.

Other winners on the night were:

All 38 finalists were awarded certificates of either ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’ and a Customer Service Award based on their performance and other awards on the night included:

·         Montes Specialist Off-Licence Group of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s Cork

·         NOffLA Best First Time Entrant 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Malahide

·         Tipperary Water Food Retailer Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Dublin 4

·         El Coto Customer Service Award of the Year 2017 –Mitchell’s Wine Shop, Glasthule

·         Red Breast Spirit Specialist of the Year 2017 – James Redmond & Sons, Ranelagh

·         Hop House 13 Beer Specialist of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Malahide Road

·         Dona Paula Wine Specialist of the Year 2017 – Jus de Vine, Portmarnock

·         Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin Connaught/Ulster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – McCambridges of Galway

·         Orchard Thieves Leinster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – The Wine Centre, Kilkenny

·         Jack Daniels Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Baggot Street Wines

·         Hennessy Munster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s, Midleton

·         RTC Online Trainee of the Year 2017 – Gerard Higgins, Kelly’s Off-Licence, Clontarf

·         NOffLA Responsible Retailer of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Kilbarrack

·         NOffLA National Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Blackrock Cellar

Judging for the awards began in June 2016 with the ongoing judging process culminating in a blind wine tasting which involved participants answering questions about the unidentified wines. Final awards were allocated following this process.

Meanwhile, the association took the opportunity of the event to call on the government to implement the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill as soon as possible. “The bill however is well past due and we believe the Irish public now deserves to benefit from the protection offered by measures such as Minimum Unit Pricing,” NOffLA chairman Gary O’Donovan said. “The government has waited long enough and we are looking for decisive action that will ensure the public is safe from reckless alcohol retailing practices.”

Retailers in the supermarket and convenience sector may be vexed by O’Donovan’s comments, given the enormous cost that implementation of the Bill would incur them due to the structural separation clause – which would not affect dedicated off-licences. “Indeed,” O’Donovan said, “the government has come under sustained pressure from Multinational retailers and supermarkets, seeking a prioritisation of sectoral revenues over public health.”

 

 

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