Artisan Wine & Spirit Co. on Winchester Street, Salisbury, attended the awards on Tuesday 22nd March as finalists and returned home as winners.
The local independent shop, owned by Lizzie Coombes and Simon Hill, won Best Newcomer of the Year 2022.
The Drink Retailing Awards celebrate and honour exemplary retailers and reward excellence within the licensed drinks retail market.
The competition is considered the most prestigious in the industry with a rigorous judging process. It takes supermarkets, wine merchants, independent specialists, convenience stores and wholesalers into consideration.
Speaking to Lizzie after the awards she said, “We entered the competition and went through the judging process. Firstly, we had to fill in an entry form and send off paperwork, documents and examples of what we had done.
“The next round was a mystery shopper – so we knew that over a two week period someone in the shop would be checking us out. They were judging us on our range, location, interaction with customers, knowledge, atmosphere, events, website and social media – everything really.”
The shop passed the mystery shopper stage and got through to the next round – an interview.
“They asked us about our background, our ethos, why we started the shop, whether we are specialists in anything, our plans for the future and why we think we should win,” said Lizzie.
When asked why she thought they deserved to win, Lizzie said, “We have put so much hard work into the shop and we really want to make it work for Salisbury.
“We want to be a different kind of wine shop. We don’t want to be that sort of old fashioned, old school wine merchant where you don’t want to walk in because it is too intimidating. We just want our customers to have a really good experience and to keep coming back and enjoy themselves.
“Someone described it as a ‘community service’ the other day because customers come in for a chat and it’s lovely. You watch people who come to events make friends with each other. Often, they sit next to someone they have never met before and they end up going to the pub afterwards and becoming good friends,” added Lizzie.
Both Lizzie and Simon were excited but nervous to attend the awards.
“We knew we were only finalists and we would have been gutted if we didn’t win but we were fully prepared not to because the competition was fierce.
“When they announced that we were the winners it was the biggest surprise and the happiest moment.”
Dan Collins, Business Manager for Salisbury BID added, “We are delighted to see that the amazing work Artisan Wine do has been recognised with this national award. Salisbury is very lucky to have so many unique independents like Artisan Wine & Spirit Co. and it’s great to see them thrive.”
Next, Lizzie and Simon want to go for ‘Best Regional Indie’, entering the International Wine Challenge.
Going forward, Artisan Wine & Spirit Co. will continue to grow and expand its range with new wines and spirits being added this week.
Find out more about Artisan Wine & Spirit Co, and its upcoming events here.