The NOFFLA awards, or the biggest year of the night in alcohol in Ireland, had their National Off License awards just recently, and decided that only one could come out on top.
And, this year's National Off-licence of the Year Award went to Frenchman Joel Durand's Blackrock Cellar, on main street, you guessed it, Blackrock.
The premises first opened as a branch of UK off-licence chain Oddbins in 1997.
Durand spoke to the Irish Times about his work, their stock and about the symbiotic nature of friendly competition:
“At first, we were going to do just wine, but it didn’t make sense. Oddbins had been importing quality beer and were always running out. So craft beer has been there from the start and has really helped us.”
“SuperValu are not the worst neighbours. I can’t do the big-label brands and they cannot stock all the small producers we do.”
Other big winners at the Noffla include:
- Jus de Vine in Portmarnock, winning the Wine Specialist of the Year award for a record 10th time.
- McHugh’s in Artane, claiming the beer award
- And Redmond’s of Ranelagh, which bagged off the Spirits Specialist award, and not for the first time.