The 2023 Retail Drinks Industry Awards were held this week, with Tess Sharp, Store Manager at Dan Murphy’s Richmond in NSW being named the 2023 Young Liquor Retailer of the Year.

Sharp said she is humbled to have been selected by the judges from a list of more than 80 fellow nominees from across the country. As the 2023 Young Liquor Retailer, she will now have the opportunity to join the Retail Drinks Board as an observer for the next 12 months.

“I feel so incredibly humbled and grateful for the team at Dan Murphy’s Richmond NSW. I would not be here without their support, and I owe a lot of my success to them,” she said.

“It’s funny because I never saw myself working in the liquor industry, I started as a Customer Experience Manager while studying part-time and I didn’t even know that Chardonnay was a wine, let alone a grape variety.

“However, I have really grown to love the industry, but more so Dan Murphy’s and the wider Endeavour Group. The support and mentoring I have received throughout my career at Dan’s has been pivotal in my growth.

“I feel really lucky to be passionate about what I do and have a real sense of purpose every day I come to work.”

The Retail Drinks Industry Awards celebrate the retailers and suppliers who provide the exemplary customer service, product knowledge and outstanding professionalism, that make our industry great.

Retail Drinks Chairman, John Carmody, said the awards are an opportunity to “celebrate the best of our industry” as he welcomed guests on the night.

He said: “Our industry is at its best when we come together, shake hands, pat each other on the back, clink glasses, make new friends, see old friends, share stories and importantly, celebrate the best of our industry, and how fortunate we are to be a part of it.”

Total nominations across all categories grew by eight per cent this year to more than 440. And in the individual awards categories including Liquor Store Owner, Manager and Young Liquor Retailer of the Year, the number of nominations grew by more than 50 per cent.

There was a total of 12 award categories on the night, with six of those being retail focused.

Steven Dinnell, Owner, Porters Liquor St Ives Village

Steven Dinnell from Porters Liquor St Ives Village in NSW was recognised as the 2023 Store Owner of the Year. This is the second time Dinnell has taken out this award, having also won the inaugural Liquor Store Owner of the Year award in 2019. No stranger to the awards circuit, he was also nominated as Young Liquor Retailer of the Year earlier in his career.

Dinnell has worked in liquor retailing since 2008, beginning as a casual at Midway Cellars and working his way up the ranks to manager, and now of course, as the Owner of Porters St Ives Village. Dinnell and his team have cemented themselves as a core part of the local St Ives community, and he thanked his team for always providing a friendly and special shopping experience for every customer.

When it comes to running a successful liquor store, Dinnell says that the key is to never be afraid to fail and to give everything a go. He also encourages young liquor retailers to find themselves a good mentor to turn to for advice and to bounce ideas off.

Speaking with National Liquor News, he said: “Winning this award for a second time has provided me with the recognition that I am still on the right track. I have a passion for liquor retailing and it’s great for that passion to be recognised by my industry peers. I’d like to thank my mentors, Mal Higgs and Giuseppe Minissale for all of their support, along with the team at Retail Drinks Australia for this recognition. I’m excited for what the future holds.”

The Coles Liquor team. Source: LinkedIn.

First Choice Liquor Market was awarded Online Liquor Retailer of the Year award for 2023, which Steve Higginson, Coles Liquor General Manager – Operations & Supply Chain, said is a fantastic achievement for the team.

“Coles Liquor is incredibly proud of all the team at First Choice Liquor Market for winning Online Liquor Retailer of the Year. This is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the hard work and dedication our team put in every day. On top of this great win, we also had a large number of our Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market teams from across the country named as finalists – which is a great achievement in itself. 

“This major achievement highlights the hard work all of our team put in to become a simpler, more accessible and locally relevant drinks specialist.”

Dan Murphy’s in Highbury, South Australia took out the award for Large Format Liquor Store of the Year

Dan Murphy’s in Highbury, South Australia took out the award for Large Format Liquor Store of the Year, and Dan Murphy’s Managing Director Agi Pfeiffer-Smith was thrilled by the recognition.

“This is well deserved recognition for team members who go above and beyond every day to assist our customers on their drinks discovery journey, and to help the category thrive,” said Pfeiffer-Smith.

“Our people are so integral to all that we do at Dan Murphy’s, and this gives us a chance to celebrate their contribution.”

Rounding out the retail winners were Old Bar Cellars in NSW, which was named Liquor Store of the Year, and William Clark from Cellarbrations at Wingham, NSW, who was named Liquor Store Manager of the Year.

Retail Drinks CEO, Michael Waters thanked all those involved in making the 2023 Awards Program a success and congratulated the night’s winners.

He said: “Thank you to our awards partners for your support in helping us make this event the success it was; thank you again to the hundreds of members who took the time to nominate in this year’s awards program; and congratulations to all awards finalists and winners.”

2023 Retail Drinks Industry Awards Winners:

Liquor Store of the Year: Old Bar Cellars, NSW

Large Format Liquor Store of the Year: Dan Murphy’s Highbury, South Australia

Online Liquor Retailer of the Year: First Choice Liquor Market

Young Liquor Retailer of the Year: Tess Sharp, Dan Murphy’s Richmond, NSW

Liquor Store Manager of the Year: William Clark, Cellarbrations at Wingham, NSW

Liquor Store Owner of the Year: Steven Dinnell, Porters Liquor St Ives Village, NSW

Sales Representative of the Year: Glen Calvert, Australian Vintage Limited

Beer Supplier of the Year: Carlton & United Breweries

Wine Supplier of the Year: Treasury Wine Estates

Spirits Supplier of the Year: Pernod Ricard Australia

Services Partner of the Year: Australian Liquor Marketers

National Supplier of the Year: Pernod Ricard Australia

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....