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Analysis: Top 50 Drinks Wholesalers 2024

Published:  10 May, 2024

Harpers is once again inviting nominations for this year’s iteration of the hotly contested list of leading UK drinks wholesalers.

Harpers’ Top 50 Drinks Wholesaler list is launching again for 2024, setting its sights on elevating and celebrating the best in the UK’s drinks supply sector.

This much-anticipated feature, which focuses on ‘the backbone’ of the drinks world, is one of our most popular annual lists, read by producers, rivals and on and off-trade retailers alike. 

Moreover, Top 50 Drinks Wholesaler eschews a focus on size and/or turnover, looking deeper into any given company’s qualities, meaning that minnows and mammoths are considered equally, often ending up cheek by jowl on the final list of 50. Whether national or regional wholesalers, agents or indie merchants, all are considered. 

Thus last year’s winner, Liberty Wines, was joined by the likes of Graft Wine Company and Lea & Sandeman (to name just two) in the heady heights of the top 10. 

The process begins with reader nominations (invited now, see box), followed by detailed entries requested from those companies longlisted for consideration. Our experienced judging panel then applies several well-honed criteria to each entry before convening to thresh out the final 50 placement over a couple of days. 

Given that company ethos, service, portfolio, training and social and environmental aspects of sustainability are all taken into account, along with innovation and investment over the past year, there is much to inform the decision-making process, but also to spur discussion and debate.

What is apparent from past years is just how sophisticated and professional UK drinks wholesalers have become, with the best reaching out far beyond the confines of their own immediate operation, to embed themselves in and support myriad aspects of the trade. As such, those companies help their supply chain partners to maximise their own trade, benefiting all involved, while helping lift the bar for the trade at large. 

This year’s Top 50 Drinks Wholesaler process begins now, with nominations currently being invited until mid-May, with judging pegged for July and the winners from 50-11 announced in early September.

Then, as with Harpers’ popular 50 Best Indies, which in January 2024 gathered the Top 10 for a live announcement over a (very enjoyable) networking lunch, so too will we be inviting our Top 10 Wholesalers to similarly gather for their final placements. 

The full results, plus a write-up from that Top 10 event, will then appear in Harpers Wine & Spirit and online at for all to see and celebrate. The aim is to deliver a fitting tribute to those at the top of their game and Top 50 Drinks Wholesalers 2024 also looks to inspire by sharing best practice from those that make the grade.

How to nominate:

Nominating a wholesaler you consider worthy of consideration couldn’t be easier. Simply click here and fill in up to three company names, along with a brief reason as to why each entry should be considered. 

Criteria for Judging – Top 50 Drinks Wholesaler List Placement on the Top 50 list will go to the best all-round drinks wholesalers, with those that demonstrate excellence in all aspects of their business achieving the highest rankings. 


We will consider: 

  • Company ethos and aims
  • Investment and growth of the company, including support for its own team
  • Service(s) offered 
  • Portfolio, including specialities and points of difference within that portfolio
  • Additional added value, such as training, sales back-up, marketing, tailored offer/list, etc. 
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability, ethical practices and relationship with wider community
  • Why the company believes it should achieve high ranking… and is it delivering on that?

Harpers would like to thank Amber Beverage, which has taken on the exclusive Spirits Sponsors partnership via its Stoli brand for Top 50 Drinks Wholesaler 2024.