Blackrock Cellar wins Off-Licence of Year

Blackrock Cellar has emerged as the National Off-Licence of the Year 2017 at the NOffLA annual ‘Off-Licence of the Year Awards’.

The awards, held in the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, also saw McHugh’s Off-Licence, Kilbarrack, win the ‘Responsible Retailer of the Year 2017’ award and Gerard Higgins from Kelly’s Off-Licence in Clontarf win ‘RTC Online Trainee of the Year 2017’.

Now in their 21st year, the awards recognise and showcase excellence in the off-licence sector by highlighting those retailers that offer exceptional service to customers and demonstrate excellence in retail standards.

Some 38 finalists were awarded certificates of either ‘Merit’ or ‘Excellence’ and a Customer Service Award based on their performance.

Other awards on the night included:


  • The Montes Specialist Off-Licence Group of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s Cork
  • The NOffLA Best First Time Entrant 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Malahide
  • The Tipperary Water Food Retailer Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Donnybrook Fair, Dublin 4
  • The El Coto Customer Service Award of the Year 2017 –Mitchell’s Wine Shop, Glasthule
  • The Redbreast Spirit Specialist of the Year 2017 – James Redmond & Sons, Ranelagh
  • The Hop House 13 Beer Specialist of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Malahide Road
  • The Dona Paula Wine Specialist of the Year 2017 – Jus de Vine, Portmarnock
  • The Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin Connaught/Ulster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – McCambridges of Galway
  • The Orchard Thieves Leinster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – The Wine Centre, Kilkenny
  • The Jack Daniels Dublin Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Baggot Street Wines
  • The Hennessy Munster Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – O’Donovan’s, Midleton
  • The RTC Online Trainee of the Year 2017 – Gerard Higgins, Kelly’s Off-Licence, Clontarf
  • The NOffLA Responsible Retailer of the Year 2017 – McHugh’s Off-Licence, Kilbarrack
  • The NOffLA National Off-Licence of the Year 2017 – Blackrock Cellar


Judging for the awards began in June 2016 with the ongoing judging process culminating in a blind wine tasting which involved participants answering questions about the unidentified wines. Final awards were allocated following this process.

“The annual NOffLA awards highlight the expertise of the independent off-licence sector, showcasing the benchmark of personal service and top quality products offered by our highly-trained members,” explained NOffLA Chairman Gary O’Donovan who also used the event to call on the Government to move swiftly and introduce the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

“As socially-conscious independent retailers, NOffLA welcomes the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill as it ensures the highest standards around the purchase and thus consumption, of alcohol,” he said, “The Bill, however, is well past due and we believe the Irish public now deserves to benefit from the protection offered by measures such as Minimum Unit Pricing.

“The Government has waited long enough and we are looking for decisive action that will ensure the public is safe from reckless alcohol retailing practices.

“We believe that the Government should go one step further in its commitment and realise the true benefits of MUP by introducing a ban on the below-invoice-cost-selling of alcohol. The repealing of the Groceries Order in 2008 has resulted in the promotion of irresponsibly discounted branded alcoholic products, driving footfall in multiples where the losses are recouped through the sale of other goods.

“While we celebrate the best that the industry has to offer, it’s important to remember that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill remains some distance from enactment.

“Indeed, the Government has come under sustained pressure from multinational retailers and supermarkets seeking a prioritisation of sectoral revenues over Public Health.

“Government must dismiss such interests and fully implement the Public Health Alcohol Bill in order to ensure responsible retailing and consumption of alcohol.”


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