Andy Dawson, director and owner of Refreshers Independent Wine Merchant, has worked in the wine industry for over 20 years.
Starting his career at his local food and wine shop whilst still at school, he then moved onto work for Bottoms Up, in their highest grossing store. After quick start management training he became Threshers’ youngest manager in the South East area, running a shop in Petts Wood before quickly being promoted to manage the estate’s busiest store, back where he started at Bottoms Up. Whilst working for Thresher Group, Andy oversaw the Champagne initiative, built a model shop in the company’s head office for the press launch, leading him to became heavily involved in the merchandising team for the T23 Thresher + Food roll out scheme. He attended press tastings on all new country launches, over saw the introduction of Necter, True Blue Wine Rack, and was district champion for the area, and always won store standards competitions, making it to regional level!
Fast forward to 2009, and Threshers took a nose dive, the receivers called in their debts and the company was forced to close its doors, Andy’s store was the only Thresher store in the South east of England to remain open, and he oversaw the successful transition of ownership to a newly formed company LCL.
June 2010 Andy parted company with his new employers, in a shop he had worked in since he was 18 and set up on his own. With the help of some very talented people, who had worked alongside him for Threshers and some financial backing from his parents, he and his team worked round the clock to get two recently closed Thresher stores back open and by July 2010 Refreshers was trading. Bickley and Shortlands were the first locations, starting with a wine range of approximately 100 different types from 5 main wine agencies, the team set out to increase the selection trying new wines from all over the world, growing the portfolio of wines they offered.
Within the first 2 years, Andy was featured in ‘Talking Heads’, the trade publication OLN, after taking a massive gamble and getting the lease off the administrators for the recently defunct Oddbins store in Bromley, Refreshers added another store to its offering. As well as launching an online national shopping website and a local delivery service.
2013 saw Refreshers face its biggest challenge and open an entirely new store, in an old kitchen showroom in Petts Wood. This was to be their biggest store and see the company move into the gifting market, having a gift wrapping station and huge selection of bespoke alcohol gift items. By listing with the worlds biggest online retailer the gifting side went from strength to strength.
Local fundraising and charity work is very important to Andy, having lived in Bromley all his life, he takes pride in the area and this is reflected in the projects and activities Refreshers is involved in. Refreshers is a partner in Wine Relief, the wine charity arm of Comic Relief, raising money through South African wine sales, leading to him being at the last ever live broadcast from BBC TV Centre in White City, for Red Nose Day presenting his giant cheque. He is an active committee member of the Petts Wood Business Association, helping business’ in Petts Wood, planning the Christmas Carnival, the Petts Wood May Queen and lots of charity fund raising for local causes. Helping fund the Christmas lights in Shortlands and Petts Wood, making the area a nicer more welcoming place.
Andy has toured some great vineyards over Europe and America, been involved in viniculture at some of the great vineyards in England, had many private tastings with some great wine makers, and most notably having dinner with the owner of Champagne Taittinger. Wine is something he is very passionate about and is constantly striving to find new and exciting ways of bringing great and unique wines to homes across Bromley and the country.