Camperdown Cellars Parramatta Road was named the Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) Liquor Store of the Year, a recognition that is especially meaningful for Managing Director Rip Viropoulos, because it is an award that is both nominated and voted on by the industry.

This is the second time that Camperdown Cellars Parramatta Road has won the ALIA Liquor Store of the Year title, with the first time being almost 10 years ago in 2014. National Liquor News caught up with Viropoulos to find out what sets the store apart, and what has made it stand the test of time.

NLN: How did it feel for Camperdown Cellars Parramatta Road to win this year’s ALIA for Liquor Store of the Year?

RV: National recognition is a significant achievement for any business and we’re proud of our team’s dedication to delivering an exceptional in-store experience that differentiates Camperdown Cellars.

The win has certainly boosted morale by validating the efforts of our team, not only at Parramatta Road, but across our group. We’re a small team and we react quickly to the demands of the business and the community. We ensure the needs of the community are met by continuing to offer the specialty products that this business has been famous for since 1947. 

We’re fortunate that our long-standing reputation attracts personnel to our business who are passionate about our industry. Our team members understand the focus for Camperdown Cellars has always been on the customer experience. This customer service ethic is the basis of what we term the ‘Camperdown Way’ of doing things.

Being recognised for doing things our way is what differentiates us, and it is something we are very proud of. We will certainly continue doing things the Camperdown Way.

NLN: How does it feel to know that it was your industry peers who nominated and voted Camperdown Cellars as Liquor Store of the Year?

RV: Our consistency is the key to our success, and this has been recognised by our peers over a long period. We are extremely thankful for this acknowledgement. Camperdown Cellars also secured Liquor Store of the Year in 2014 and we haven’t stopped working on improvements since. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, so delivering the title again in 2023 gives us great confidence in our business model and our people. We hope this win delivers lasting impact for our industry, and especially for other independent operators.

NLN: How does your store stand apart from your local competitors?

RV: Our priority remains the same every day; ensuring the customer experience is always positive. We guarantee there is colour and texture in our stores with great eye-catching displays that are supported with warm ambience created by the soft lighting and background music.

Our in-store displays are changed regularly to feature new arrivals, new promotions with great buys, interesting product arrivals coupled with tasteful giveaways such as glassware, bikes, barbeques, wine cooling buckets, and other things people can use.

We like to complement our customers entertaining and enjoyment with family and friends. Our stores ensure there is theatre, along with in-store tastings every Friday and Saturday evening where our customers are made to feel welcome. There’s always a great atmosphere in our stores where people can mingle and share their experiences and stories of new discoveries.

NLN: What’s the philosophy behind your outlet?

RV: Camperdown Cellars was established in 1947 and the business benefits from a timeless principle, we remain customer centric and the trust we have built over a very long period, and the commitment to quality defines our philosophy. We continue to offer traditional customer service while balancing innovation with the changing retail landscape. We adapt to changing tastes and market conditions and move quickly to meet our customer needs. This is the great advantage to being independent and staying true to our philosophy.

NLN: What products are big movers in your store and why do you think that is?

RV: Speed to market determines our fastest moving items. We move quickly to meet demand with trending items. For example, we currently can’t get enough of the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne, despite its $200+ price tag. Don Michael Andean Black Corn Peruvian Whiskey is our biggest selling Whiskey. We also moved pallets of Dubonnet when it came to light it was the Queen’s favourite spirit.

Aperol and Prosecco are still outselling the closest competing product in their respective categories by five to one, and both remain bundled and featured across our stores.

The same is true for non-liquor items such as San Pellegrino mixers and waters that roll in weekly by the pallet. We remain nimble to meet demand and tailor our product range accordingly.

NLN: What have been some successful innovations at your store?

RV: Feature displays wield magic in our stores. They captivate attention by virtue of their size and convey a strong message to our customers. Purchases of quality product is made in bulk for savings. This translates to an in-store offer, which is generally price-driven, given bulk purchase discounts are passed onto our customers for great deals. Product is always sourced from leading producers in their respective category. These products are placed with great visibility that encourages impulse. The feature displays influence the customer perception and add to the shopping experience with bundle offers and great discounts above the single bottle price, which customers love.

NLN: What are some of the biggest issues currently facing the retail liquor industry?

RV: The evolving preferences of customers is the most challenging issue. There are more health concerns about alcohol consumption and customers are choosing to consume less but better quality. Regulation is always in the background and more stringent regulation will continue. We have seen this with same day delivery service restrictions. The current economic fluctuations will persist for some time, so this adds another layer to the many considerations’ retailers are facing. We are adapting with changing our product selection, and we intend to sustain our success by understanding our customers and meeting their needs. These societal and economic changes will continue to redefine the landscape for liquor retailers.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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