The Liquor Stores Association of Western Australia held its 28th annual Liquor Industry Awards last week, with Dunsborough Cellars taking out two of the major retail awards.

The South-West liquor store won both the Country Liquor Store of the Year as well as the Peter Basioli WA Liquor Store of the Year – an honour that Dunsborough Cellars Owner, Geoff Davies, was thrilled by.

These are the first awards to be won by Davies and Dunsborough Cellars since opening the store in 2014, and it’s the first time a country liquor store has won the overall award since 2019.

Voting for the best store is based on scores by dozens of sales representatives from wineries, beer suppliers, and distilleries from across WA, and Davies said that the award was a fantastic acknowledgement from the industry.

“To win regional liquor store of the year is a real achievement, it’s very humbling, but to win the overall liquor store on top of that is a real thrill,” he said.

It was also a good night for Liquor Barons, with Liquor Barons Marmion winning Metropolitan Store of the Year, and Darren Spackman from Liquor Barons in Kununurra taking out the Anita Grace Community Service Award.

Spackman was recognised for his strong collaboration with WA police and the local council to help reduce harm around alcohol abuse in the Kimberley, and he urged the State Government and local stakeholders to adequately address the problems around alcohol abuse in regional communities.

“We’re fighting for every day, as a business and for our community…. there’s total dysfunction of our department and unfortunately, it’s got really bad, that we’ve got to the stage where we need to actually restrict our way of life because we can’t regulate society,” he said.

The awards, which we sponsored by Lion, were held at the Hyatt Regency in Perth and attended by more than 300 guests, including Racing and Gaming Minister Reece Whitby, who said the event was a fitting testament to the significant role family-owned liquor stores play in local communities.

“It’s the hospitality business isn’t it. It’s about people relaxing having a good time and having a drink. It’s a great industry and people love to be part of it.”

The awards proceedings were marked by an emotional tribute to industry stalwart Brian Sheehy who sadly passed away in November last year following more than 20 years in the industry, most recently for Samuel Smith & Sons and Negotiants. The 2023 Sales Representative of the Year – Wine award was renamed in his honour and won by Neil McPherson from Off the Vine.

Peter Peck, CEO of LSA WA, said that this year’s event was the best in years.

“There has been so much to celebrate and commemorate this year but at the end of the day it’s about honouring and acknowledging the demanding work put in by these small family-owned businesses.

“The contribution that our members and suppliers make to the local community often goes unnoticed, so this is an event to remind everyone the important role they play.

“I congratulate the award winners and thank all our partners for their ongoing support,” he added.

LSA WA 2023 Lion Liquor Industry Award winners:

Peter Basioli WA Liquor Store of the Year: Dunsborough Cellars

Metropolitan Liquor Store of the Year: Liquor Barons Marmion

Country Liquor Store of the Year: Dunsborough Cellars

Anita Grace Community Service Award: Darren Spackman, Liquor Barons Kununurra

Lion Liquor Industry Media Award: Sarah Crawford (The West Australian)

Employee of the Year: Guy Southern – Copper and Oak

Sales Representative of the Year – Beer: James Peacock – Coopers Premium

Sales Representative of the Year – Wine: Neil McPherson, Off the Vine

Sales Representative of the Year – Spirits/RTDs: Justyn Brady – Brown Forman

Supplier of the Year – Beer: Good Drinks Australia

Supplier of the Year – Wine: Off the Vine

Supplier of the Year – Spirit/RTDs: Brown- Forman

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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