In 2005 The Offie scooped the award for Independent Beer Retailer of the Year at a prestigious ceremony held at The Dorchester Hotel in London. The National Award was deserved recognition for a small, fiercely independent specialist wine, beer and spirit merchants which has been established in Leicester for more than 30 years.
Operating on Clarendon Park Road, The Offie is run by Muree Squires whose passion for beer takes him to the most obscure corners of the globe to bring customers a choice of 500 different bottled ales at any one time. "A lot of custom is from people who go abroad and try beers but can't get them at home" said Muree on collecting his award. "At one time, most people wouldn't have been to Belgium but now they go to Brugge for a weekend and they fall in love with the beer."
One of Muree's most unusual beers is Westvleteren, a Belgian monastery ale, which has no label and which has to be collected from the monastery. The Offie also lists a selection of mid-range wines and idiosyncratic spirits.
"It's important to inspire people to sample new experiences" continued Muree. "We hold taster evenings and I go along to local CAMRA beer festivals (Campaign for Real Ale) to de-mystify the multitude of beer styles available for customers. We are always happy to offer drinks advice to visitors to The Offie and also accept orders over the internet. It's great that these initiatives have contributed to the honour of winning this award and I'm proud to have brought the title of Independent Beer Retailer of the Year home to Leicester."