Norfolk village shop named Britain's best off licence
PUBLISHED: 17:59 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 25 March 2019
A Norfolk village shop that stocks a range of tipples that puts many supermarkets to shame has been named the best off licence in the country.
Kenninghall Stores and Post Office are toasting success after scooping national recognition as off licence of the year 2019 at the Convenience Store awards.
Mike and Karen Humphreys, who took over the shop in 2011, were also finalists in the best small store category of the awards, run in conjunction with The Grocer magazine.
“It is a feather in our cap really, something to be proud of,” said Mr Humphreys. “We were up against some really stiff competition but the judges have come around and have obviously liked what we were doing. We hoped to get to the final but never thought we would win. It is really pleasing for the customers and for your staff who have helped us to achieve it.”
The off licence award comes just six months after the couple decided to radically increase the choice of wines, beers and spirits they stock.
Mr Humphreys said: “We did a survey and our customers said they wanted more choice. So it is only about six months ago that we started stocking such a big range. They are going really well and people are coming in from lots of different villages because we stock more gins than even large supermarkets.
“We started off with 10 gins, went to 20, then 30, 40, 50, and now we are up to about 140. Most of them come in beautiful bottles and people are quite into the local stuff, so we do about 20 local gins, distilled in Norfolk. Our top seller is Norfolk Gin.
“We also do really nice malt whiskies and a range of about 15 rums, various light and dark rums, as well as about 20 different vodkas. We do Outerspace Vodka in an alien head green bottle.
“I have been very surprised because before we probably only stocked about six or seven spirits. We are now well over 200 different bottles. But we have had people coming from the other side of Norwich to buy.”
Many local shops are facing tough times but the couple, who also run the Dickleburgh village store and post office, think community stores still have a future.
Mr Humphreys said: “People don’t necessarily want to travel six or seven miles to the nearest town or supermarket. And the thing that makes us a success is the local produce, whether that is local pies, local cheeses or local gins.”