they also had the courage to criticise the very people they were talking to - the drink trade's top suppliers.
The message they wanted to get through to the audience was simple - retailers need greater direct contact to grow sales. And their ideas about how this could be achieved were illuminating.
Suggestions ranged from more personal visits by suppliers to stores, using DVDs, internet streaming and password-access websites to keep drinks shops updated on category trends, and giving retailers greater responsibility in promoting the Drinkaware Trust's sensible drinking message.
These suggestions might not sound radical, but for anyone who has ever dealt with an incompetent or impersonal supplier, you'll know just how important they are.
Us retailers face a multitude of obstacles every day, from ramped up competition by the multiples, to under-age drinking and a tightening of consumer s' belts, so we need all the help we can get.
A good supplier is worth their weight in gold, and they are the ones that can help us independents improve sales and survive in what is becoming an increasingly tough retail environment.
Name and address withheld