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High street rules at wine and spirits competition

Published:  17 November, 2016

High street retailers such as Aldi and Marks and Spencer were the big winners at an industry awards ceremony to celebrate the biggest names in wines and spirits.

Lidl took home the Retail Spirits Buyer of the Year award at last night's International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) headed by Hannah Cvetkovic.

Cvetkovic joined Lidl in October 2014 and one her first moves was to boost the range from 40 to 60 products, with a heavier focus on seasonal rotation.

This expansion has proved a success for the discounter, sustaining double-digit growth and the introduction of nine summer lines.

Meanwhile Marks and Spencer was celebrated for its achievements in the equivalent wine category, and putting together a large team which has buyers in key global markets.

The team clocked up around 600 days travelling across the board over the past year, visiting 250 producers and blending 500 wines to keep 20% of the range revolving each year.

Master of Malt was recognised for its online success.

The online retailer has grown from a single shop selling whisky by mail order, to an online specialist stocking 9,000 products.

Master of Malt's expanded offering now includes Cognac, rum, Armagnac, gin, tequila and vodka, as well as a blend-your-own whisky service.

Aldi was named the year's best innovator for its range of quality wines on a budget.

The discounter launched its Wine by the Case incentive in 2016 and increased its wine offering from 70 to 117 SKUs.

Online exclusives and innovations such as their craft wine stubbies have also allowed Aldi to double its sales forecasts for the coming year and reach a broader nationwide audience.