TLS Honored as Market Watch Leader At Its Annual Awards Dinner

Market Watch magazine celebrated the nation’s top spirits and wine retailers at the annual Leaders Awards dinner, which was held at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

The magazine’s Retailer of the Year award went to Bruce Dierking, CEO and owner of Hazel’s Beverage World in Boulder, Colorado. Dierking started his career as a lawyer and segued into the real estate world, where he purchased the 35,000-square-foot shopping center that would become Hazel’s in 2012. The single-unit store has since become the number-one beverage alcohol destination in this western city, and consistent double-digit growth year over year has resulted in annual revenues of $35 million in 2022. Dierking was ill and could not attend, but his wife and business partner Carleen Dierking accepted the award in his place.

The Liquor Store of Jackson Hole was one of eight retailers from six different operations that were also honored as Market Watch Leaders.

Stephan Abrams of The Liquor Store in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Stephan began working at The Liquor Store 25 years ago as a cashier and has climbed his way up the ranks. Today, he is the co-owner of the single-unit store which brings in $10 million annually. While tourism to this small town of 11,000 is critical, catering to the needs of the local community has always been Stephan’s focus.

Here’s the list of the rest of the class of 2023:

  • Lawrence Boyce of the Louisville, Kentucky-based Liquor Barn. Lawrence is the CEO of a 23-unit chain of stores that provides a state-of-the-art retail experience for its customers, with most units maintaining on-premise licenses and all units carrying tasting licenses. The company boasts annual revenues of almost $200 million. While it’s now owned by leading e-commerce company Gopuff, Lawrence is committed to maintaining Liquor Barn’s progressive brick and mortar operation.
  • John Halper of Minneapolis-based Top Ten Liquors. John is a lawyer turned retailer whose small four-unit chain of stores has blossomed into a 14-unit operation with 250 employees and annual revenues of $52 million. His newest store opened a year ago with a 7,000-square-foot retail space adjacent to a 4,000 square foot wine bar that offers 100 wines by the glass.
  • Todd Randall of Randall’s Wines and Spirits in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Todd grew up working for the family business and returned in 2014 after a brief stint as a financial analyst. He believes creative marketing and customer education are some of the core elements in maintaining a good experience for customers. He has helped grow the family business to revenues of more than $20 million last year.
  • Rony Shamoun of Las Vegas’ Liquor World. Rony bought a single-unit liquor store 17 years ago and has built it into the 12-unit business it is today, with 120 employees and $50 million in annual revenues. Rony takes pride in having clean, well-lit stores with friendly and knowledgeable team members, and is now the third largest beverage alcohol retailer in his competitive market.
  • Dylan Melvin, beverage director of Foxtrot in Chicago. Dylan manages the multi-market, multi-channel 29-unit chain. At its inception in 2013, Foxtrot was a delivery-only convenience store. Today, the company is a $75 million enterprise serving several major cities and metropolitan areas, with 80 percent of sales from retail stores, and only 20 percent from e-commerce.

The Leaders Alumni were honored in the categories of Best Marketing and Community Service. Jeremy Noye of New York’s Morrell & Co. won the Best Marketing award, while the Community Service award went to Tom Druley of Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Belmont Beverage.

The supplier tier was also honored. Claudia Schubert, president and COO of Diageo North America was the winner of the Industry Executive of the Year award. With more than 20 years in the drinks industry, Claudia has held a series of leadership roles at Diageo both in the U.S. and internationally, overseeing growth for a formidable portfolio of brands including Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Don Julio among many others. Today, she is at the top echelon of management for Diageo’s North American sector.

Among the brand honorees, High Noon Sun Sips was named Spirits Brand of the Year, while Seaglass was Wine Brand of the Year. The Best New Spirits Product award went to Jameson Orange, while Yellow Tail Pure Bright won the Best New Wine Product honor.

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