Cornerstone Inns, a Cheshire-based hub of six sites across three towns, won out against a strong field of fellow businesses, including last year’s winner Oakman Inns, and Mitchell & Butlers Sizzling Pubs, at the awards’ 25th anniversary celebrations in Battersea Evolution.
Cornerstone Inns is driven by founder Damon Horrill and is firmly ensconced within the communities it serves. Horrill is active within the wider community and aims to use his operations to bring three towns, Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich a single community under a united title of the Weaver Valley.
Judges were impressed by the businesses passion for the community it serves and particularly the plans to launch a crowd-funded scheme to allow customers to buy into the fabric of the building, essentially putting the pubs back into community ownership.
This is a business that has overcome extreme difficulties to offer a real, community-based offer to the local area, with event focused around the pubs and within the wider community.
Ed Bedington, editor of the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “This is the kind of company that epitomises the ethos of what a community pub operator should be.
“The business is built around the communities it serves, and the plans to return the pubs back into local ownership is one to be applauded. Damon and his team are looking to create a community-based, sustainable model which potentially could be rolled out across other areas in the UK.”