The number of independent mer- chants at the show grew to 1,322 from 1,181 last year, while the number of off-licence visitors climbed to 337 from 315 last year.
OLN’s Independents’ Business Lounge, which offered indies specialist clinics to advise on various aspects of their businesses, as well as a free lunch sponsored by Wines of Portugal, teamed up with Brintex to offer £50 bursaries to encourage more independents to come to the event.
OLN editor Rosie Davenport said: “As such a crucial and vibrant part of the market, we thought it was time independents were given some special treatment at the show – and space to plan their visit and network in the same way supermarket buyers can, in their exclusive lounge. There were several new features at this year’s show, which is the key to keeping it fresh and relevant, and OLN was pleased to be part of helping it evolve.”
LIWF director James Murray said: “We are really pleased with the calibre of independents that attended.”
One exhibitor, Eclectic Wines owner Mary Pateras, said: “We have had really good quality visitors to the stand, a great way to celebrate our 10 years of trading. There was a steady stream, from small independent retailers to wine educators – a really nice mix.”
Richard Vose, wine buyer for Peckham & Rye, said: “It was a useful show for us and we have picked up a couple of nice Italian wines and new Spanish too. There was not enough time to do everything I wanted, but I guess that’s a good thing. I thought it was pretty busy considering how quiet the trade is at the moment.”