The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) announced the winners of the Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2017 yesterday 24th of January. The organisation took the opportunity at the ceremony, held at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, to call on the government to move swiftly and introduce the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. This is the 21st edition of the awards, which highlight excellence in the off-licence sector. Finalists included 38 off licences and saw Blackrock Cellar awarded National Off-Licence of the Year 2017.
Now in their twenty-first year, the awards recognise and showcase excellence in the off-licence sector. Gary O’Donovan, NOffLA Chairman, said, “The annual NOffLA awards highlight the expertise of the independent off-licence sector, showcasing the benchmark of personal service and top quality products offered by our highly trained members.”
In his speech, he welcomed the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill “as it ensures the highest standards around the purchase, and thus consumption, of alcohol.” He said that the bill is “well past due” and that they are looking for “decisive action that will ensure the public is safe from reckless alcohol retailing practices”, referring in particular to below invoice cost selling of alcohol
“As socially conscious independent retailers, NOffLA welcomes the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill as it ensures the highest standards around the purchase, and thus consumption, of alcohol. 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. 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”.
All 38 finalists were awarded certificates of either ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’ and a Customer Service Award based on their performance. Other awards on the night included:
· The Montes Specialist Off-Licence Group of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s Cork
· The NOffLA Best First Time Entrant 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Malahide
· The Tipperary Water Food Retailer Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Dublin 4
· The El Coto Customer Service Award of the Year 2017 –Mitchell’s Wine Shop, Glasthule
· The Redbreast Spirit Specialist of the Year 2017 – James Redmond & Sons, Ranelagh
· The Hop House 13 Beer Specialist of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Malahide Road
· The Dona Paula Wine Specialist of the Year 2017 – Jus de Vine, Portmarnock
· The Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin Connaught/Ulster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – McCambridges of Galway
· The Orchard Thieves Leinster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – The Wine Centre, Kilkenny
· The Jack Daniels Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Baggot Street Wines
· The Hennessy Munster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s, Midleton
· The RTC Online Trainee of the Year 2017 – Gerard Higgins, Kelly’s Off-Licence, Clontarf
· The NOffLA Responsible Retailer of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Kilbarrack
· The 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.
More information noffla.ie