NATIONAL OFF-LICENCE OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2013

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The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) presented thirteen Awards for excellence at their annual, ‘Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2013’ which was held last night (28 January) at the Honourable Society of King’s Inns, Dublin. The awards, which have been running for seventeen years, were developed by NOffLA to recognise and showcase the off-licences around the country that offer exceptional service to customers and demonstrate excellence in retail standards.
Speaking about the awards, NOffLA Chairperson, Evelyn Jones said, “The last number of years, and particularly 2012 have been very difficult for the off-licence sector. What these awards demonstrate is that even in toughest operating environments; our members can maintain the highest standards when responsibly retailing alcohol and never fail to offer the best service to customers.
“Our members are trained specialists in responsibly retailing alcohol, thanks to our Responsible Trading Certificate (RTC) training programme. NOffLA took a leadership role in creating, developing and implementing this innovative, cost-friendly programme which has benefited our Association and also the general public. We believe that any person retailing alcohol should be adequately trained to do so, as is the case in other sectors.” continued Jones.
The most notable awards are, ‘National Off-Licence of the Year’, ‘Responsible Retailer of the Year’ and ‘RTC Online Trainee of the Year’.
The much sought after accolades went to:
• Dicey Reilly’s Off-Licence in Ballyshannon Co. Donegal – ‘National Off-Licence of the Year’
• The Wine Centre, Kilkenny - ‘Responsible Retailer of the Year’
• Alex Markin, O’Brien’s Clontarf - ‘RTC Online Trainee of the Year’

In addition, all 41 finalists were awarded certificates of either ‘Standard’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’ based on their performance.
Other awards on the night included:
• Specialist Off-Licence Group of the Year 2013 – O’Donovan’s, Cork
• Best First Time Entrant 2013 – Desmonds, Next Door
• Food Retailer Off-Licence of the Year 2013 – Shiel’s Londis
• Customer Service Award of the Year 2013 – Donnybrook Fair
• Spirit Specialist of the Year 2013 – Redmonds Off-Licence, Ranelagh
• Beer Specialist of the Year 2013 – Baggot Street Wines
• Wine Specialist of the Year 2013 – Deveney’s Rathmines
• Munster Off-Licence of the Year 2013 – World Wide Wines
• Connaught/Ulster Off-Licence of the Year 2013 – Dicey Reilly’s Off-Licence
• Leinster Off-Licence of the Year 2013 – The Wine Centre, Kilkenny
• Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2013 – Gibneys Off-Licence

According to Jones, the awards have been of the highest standard to date, “The standard this year really has been outstanding, particularly with regards to product knowledge, customer service and responsible retailing. It hasn’t been an easy year for the industry so our members have really had to raise the bar and get a better understanding of exactly what the customer wants. It’s evident from the judges’ feedback that they have been doing just that”.
Judging for the awards began in June 2012, which was the beginning of a tough but rewarding journey for all of this year’s award winners. The process culminated in a blind wine tasting which involved participants answering questions about the unidentified wines. Final awards were allocated following this process.
 

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