Every year, our reader survey asks merchants which suppliers they most enjoy working with. We allow them three choices, in no particular order, and offer no prompts.
And, every year, the top of the leaderboard looks much the same. Boutinot, Liberty Wines, Alliance Wine and Hatch Mansfield occupy the first four places once again this year. Indeed Boutinot and Liberty have taken first and second spot respectively ever since the survey began in 2013.
Yet all four have seen their share of the votes slip a little, partly because more and more suppliers are receiving votes. This year 130 suppliers were nominated by survey respondents, an all-time high for the survey.
The effect of price hikes is clearly visible in the average sales price in the independent trade, which rises from £12.25 to £12.99, compared to the off-trade average of £5.73. Yet transaction values have fallen to a five-year low.
More survey analysis appears in our March edition and continues in April.