GBPA winner: "Find the point of difference to keep your pub fresh"

Winners: the Crown Inn won bet Cider Pub at the Great British Pub Awards
Winners: the Crown Inn won bet Cider Pub at the Great British Pub Awards

Related tags Great british pub Alcoholic beverage Herefordshire

As the dust settles after Brexit, I am sure I have heard as much banter over the bar as most owners. The Remainers who still cannot understand why the country did this to them and gleeful Brexiteers who try not to gloat too much. 

Each week that has gone past has had another political bombshell for us to debate and discuss. The exchanges, while passionate and noisy are always conducted in good humour, certainly better than many of those we heard from the political classes before and after the referendum.

It has certainly been a memorable few weeks, showing how Britain has made a unique decision in politics and in highlighting the special way we discuss and put the world to rights in pubs up and down the country.


Keeping things unique and different has always been the way we have tried to do things at the Crown. We are lucky to live in a safe and picturesque village and to be able to use all that this area has to offer.

This article was submitted late because I was repairing a pheasant pen on the banks of the River Wye in one of the most beautiful areas of our stunning county.

Being fortunate enough to have a friend who lets us use his land this way is amazing. As someone who does not get enough exercise, getting out in all seasons, rearing free-range birds that fill the specials board of the pub is perfect. The whole family gets to help out and appreciates where our food comes from.

Hosting informal shoots with friends and customers is something I look forward to. The hours spent on top of the newly cut hay bales after fixing the pen, shooting rabbits for chef, made the day perfect!

Home-made cider

Introducing our own home made cider four years ago and serving it in a commercial style but with much higher juice content than mainstream suppliers has given the pub a point of difference that hopefully sets us apart from our competitors and gives people another reason to make the journey to see us.

If you can keep looking forward for the next point of difference that sets you apart from the crowd, and is desirable to the customer, it will keep that unique atmosphere current and fun.

So whether it is working on a ‘Cider Cup’ summer fruit drink, sharpening the menu to reflect the seasons and weather or even starting to make your own cider or perry for your thirsty locals, it will help keep the offering as unique as the chat and banter in the bar.

Matt Slocombe is the licensee of the Crown Inn, Woolhope, Herefordshire and won Best Cider Pub at the Great British Pub Awards in 2015.

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