Herchelle Perez-Terrado, spirits buyer at Waitrose, which won the Multiple Spirits Retailer category after setting up innovative tastings and promotions, said: “We’ve worked hard on our spirits range and we win a few awards but this one stands out because we have been recognised by our peers, which is really special.”
When asked her predictions for 2013, she added: “In the trade we have been talking about gin for a long time, but consumers are still discovering it and I think it will continue to do really well.
“And I think dark spirits, particularly rum, is an area to watch out for – we are all very excited about how well it will do next year.”
Gerry’s Wine & Spirits won the Independent Spirits Retailer award and manager Allen Daly said: “I have been doing this for 28 years and my colleague Vince has been here for 24 years so this is a culmination of all our hard work.
“We’re proud to have won. Spirits are massively important to our business. It was interesting to see all the trophy winners but we already had a good idea of the sort of spirits we want to sell. My top tip for 2013 is Konik’s Tale vodka – it’s going to be the biggest vodka around.”
Hankey Bannister was named Supreme Spirits Champion after its 40 Years Old blended Scotch whisky blew away stiff competition from the likes of No 3 Gin, The Balvenie TUN 1401 Batch 2 and ABK6 Cognac Extra.
And after winning trophies for its Yamazaki single malt whisky aged 18 years and Hakushu single malt whisky aged 25 years, Suntory scooped the Distiller of the Year gong.
Havana Club, whose Añejo 15 Años won a trophy, won the Excellence in Craftmanship award.
In total there were 21 trophy winners, chosen from dozens of gold medalists.
Paul-Charles Ricard picked up a posthumous Outstanding Contribution award on behalf of his father Patrick, who transformed Pernod Ricard into the world’s second-largest drinks company.