Sheridans Cheesemongers at Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt has been named the Guild of Fine Food Shop of the Year, the first win for an Irish cheese shop in the competition.
The Guild of Fine Food’s Annual Shop of the Year is the most prestigious award given to independent retailers in the UK and Ireland. The award recognises pre-eminent independent food retailers in six categories:
- Delicatessen & Grocer
- Specialist Cheese Shop
- Farm Shop
- Food Hall
- Specialist Food and Drink Shop
Guild of Fine Food judges are comprised of industry professionals that visit each location to get an understanding of shopping experience, staff training and interaction, operations and financial performance. Each location is rated and scored based on the panel of judges as well as secret shopper experiences to determine a category winner.
Sheridans Cheesemongers partnered with Dunnes Store in 2015 to create a cheese counter for their Stephens Green location. Since then, the collaboration has developed to include nine locations across Dunnes Stores all providing farmhouse, artisan cheeses from Ireland and Europe. Dunnes customers are offered a knowledgeable cheesemonger experience and a huge cheese selection from the convenience of their local store.
The collaboration proves not only beneficial to the Dunnes Stores customer, but to Irish cheese makers as well. Since Sheridans collaboration with Dunnes Stores began in 2015, Sheridans has seen a 50% increase in the sale of Irish farmhouse cheeses.
On a local level this has positively impacted small Irish farmhouse cheesemakers, many of whom would not previously have had their cheeses available to such a broad customer base.
Dunnes Stores Sheridans Cheesemongers locations include Cornelscourt, Stephens Green, Rathmines, Swords, Donaghmede, Cork, Blanchardstown, Blackrock
Kevin Sheridan, co-owner, Sheridans Cheesemongers, said: "I am so delighted with this award, it is a wonderful endorsement for our fantastic team, our wonderful cheesemakers and the vision of Dunnes Stores which has allowed us to bring great Irish cheese to more and more customers."
Siobhan Ní Ghairbhith, St Tola’s Goat’s Cheese, Co. Clare, said: "We are so delighted as a supplier of artisan raw milk cheeses to Sheridans counters in Dunnes Stores. These new outlets have made our cheeses, and other Irish farmhouse cheeses, more accessible to a wider audience, in a way that stays true to our traditions and values yet embraces the modern way in which the wider public interact with food and retailers."
Sarah Furno, Cashel Blue Cheese, Co. Tipperary, said: "The Sheridans Cheesemongers counters within Dunnes Stores is a breath of fresh air for Irish Farmhouse Cheese, giving our farmhouse cheese a voice within the environment of a shopping experience that is approachable to everyone. It's a little like the democratisation of specialty food and particularly Irish Farmhouse Cheese."