IWSC reveals its 2022 Spirits Supermarket of the Year shortlist

IWSC news

Tue 5 Apr 2022

Each year the IWSC recognises individual drinks, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to wines, wine-based drinks, spirits, low & no alternatives, RTDs and ciders. Looking beyond these bottles, we are also keen to recognise the creativity of the companies bringing these drinks to the consumer. These companies are distinguished by our Business Awards.

The IWSC Spirits Supermarket of the Year accolade was created to recognise the supermarkets innovating and adapting to a rapidly changing market as well as excelling in communicating its offer to its customers.

There was much debate surrounding the work our entrants were putting into their offer and the importance placed on incubating brands.

Following much deliberation, our esteemed judging panel comprising journalist and broadcaster David Kermode, spirits buyer Ivan Dixon and the IWSC’s Commercial Manager & Spirits Brand Ambassador, Sam Cooklin-Smith, agreed on the shortlist.

The IWSC is delighted to reveal our 2022 shortlist for its Spirits Supermarket of the Year award:


aldi-2.pngOur judges really enjoyed Aldi’s inclusion of its Penhros Gin story, part of the Grow with Aldi activation, this sustainably sourced gin is using the ‘wibbly wobbly’ left over bits of fruit which is usually thrown out.

An impressive number of additions to the Aldi range over the past 12 months, adding 57 new spirits to its line-up, including the doubling of its 0% spirits range and the addition of new flavour innovations from lychee gin liqueur, mango flavoured vodka and raspberry mojito rum.

When looking at the work retailers are doing to develop brands and bring them life, Aldi must be applauded for the work it has done on its Haysmith’s Gin, now firmly established as a brand in its own right.

Possibly seen by many as a bit cheeky in the way it creates brands, overall Aldi was recognised as working in a clever way given the space limitations it has across its estate.



There was great delight from our judges to see the entry from North of England supermarket, Booths. With its stores located across Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Booths is a real pioneer for locally produced spirits – including Filey Bay Distillery, The Lakes Distillery, and Lytham Distillery.

Booths has expanded its spirits range by 50 new products in the past 12 months as well as 30 new ready-to-drink products to support its customers growing interest in at home mixology.

Commended for its superior printed materials as well as its quality website with instructive and attractive information and recipes. Though Booths has a much smaller estate compared to our other shortlisted entrants, the judges recognised the great work being doing for the consumer. Booths clearly cares about its customers and seeks to personalise each store to give it a more local offer and feel.

As part of creating a local feel in its stores, produce from the local area is put front and centre, showing great support for local producers.

As well as looking after customers and producers, Booths was praised for its investment in its employees, supporting drinks education but also ensuring employees were licence holders, which means Booths can offer a licenced expert on its shop floors for customer tastings.




With its heritage as a local retailer, it’s good to see Co-op is still pioneering local produce in its stores, however the judges were also all in agreement that its move online was a step in the right direction for the supermarket, making it easier for its customers to shop.

Holding a spirits range of approximately 250 products, of which a fifth are local products, the growth in the range during this past year has been focussed around adding new 0% lines to its listings as well as premiumisation of its offer.

Co-op has admirable sustainability aspirations, with an intention to become the first supermarket in the world to achieve carbon neutral status on own brand food and drink by 2025.




With a range consisting of over 500 spirits, 49 of which are own label, the past 12 months has seen 65 new lines added to the supermarket’s range.

In stores, it is assisting the customer shopping experience by designing shelf talkers in partnership with its key brand partners, offering cocktail recipes and serving suggestions. Tesco can also be praised for taking the lead in the responsible drinking market, leading the way with listings of hard seltzers and low and no alcohol options.

Our judges were keen to highlight the improved customer experience on the Tesco website, where over the past year, the supermarket has developed a bespoke online Gin Parlour and Whisky Cellar with recipes, tasting notes and product information.


This year’s Spirits Supermarket of the Year shortlist highlights the real diversity amongst retailers: from Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, to Co-op’s expertise spanning the convenience format, specialising in having the right range for each location, incorporating Booths which celebrates local products across its north of England stores, as well as the ever-growing Aldi, now the UK’s fifth biggest supermarket.

The IWSC’s 2022 Spirits Supermarket of the Year winner will be announced on Tuesday 12 April.