Calling the best pubs in Britain: entries for GBPAs 2017 are now open

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

The GBPAs, run by The Morning Advertiser, are recognised as 'the ones to win' by licensees
The GBPAs, run by The Morning Advertiser, are recognised as 'the ones to win' by licensees

Related tags: Great british pub

Bring some sanity to the country. Put your pub forward and help us in our hunt for the best pubs in the country as the popular Great British Pub Awards (GBPA) opens its doors for 2O17 entries.

Celebrating a range of operators, the GBPAs is the leading event for pub operators​ across the country and is hotly contested by some of the best landlords in the land.

Five reasons to enter

1. Time well invested. Going through the entry process will help provide focus on what you have achieved in the past year and highlight any areas for improvement

2. Team recognition. Winning an award is a fantastic morale booster for your team

3. Invaluable networking. Being part of the GBPAs offers entrants fantastic networking opportunities

4. A great celebration. The awards ceremony at a top London hotel features fantastic entertainment and bars. It is the best night of the year to celebrate the trade’s finest

5. It makes a difference to your business. Winners and finalists have reported a significant uplift in trade and publicity by gaining recognition at the awards

With up to 17 categories available to enter, the competition is open to pubs and bars of every stripe to get involved and compete for the top title of Great British Pub of the Year.

Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser​, which organises the awards, said: “These awards offer the opportunity for operators across the UK to nail their colours to the mast and be recognised as some of the best in the business.

“This competition aims to celebrate the unique role the great British pub plays with-in our society, a unique institution that is the envy of much of the world. We want to take the opportunity to recognise the excellent work that you, the operators driving those businesses, are doing and give you all a platform to promote and grow your businesses in the future. I’d urge all to enter this competition – we’ve made it simple and straight-forward to enter this year in the early stages, refining the process from last year."

Raise the profile of your pub

“We’ll also be raising the competition’s profile within the consumer sector, with a PR and marketing campaign to drive awareness of the competition ever wider," Bedington said. "We’ll also be calling on consumers to nominate their best boozers, so if you get the seal of approval from your punters we’ll be giving you a call to enter. The awards offer a superb opportunity for you to grow your business, promote it to existing and new customers and give your hard-working staff some great recognition and reward.”

Last year saw Dominic Worrall walk away with the top title after his pub, the Bull in Ditchling, East Sussex, romped home in the Freehouse category.

He said: “I am cautious about putting my head above the parapet, I have never entered any competition nor sought publicity. We do what we do quietly and just keep our fingers crossed. Our focus has always been to improve, exceed customers’ expectations, and create a safe, enjoyable place for the team to work while offering them further education and security. I am hugely lucky to have an amazing team around me, from Alan the gardener to Molly the GM, who is my absolute rock. They all take what we do seriously and with a huge sense of pride."

Public recognition 

“On the night [of the awards], for the first time someone publically recognised that and decided to share it with a greater audience," said Worrall. "I saw 600 of the industry’s finest offer a standing ovation to the most amazing people I could wish to work with. Through your love of what you do, you seemed to fully understand the love we have for what we do. For that I will be eternally grateful.”

Bedington added: “This competition can really add to your bottom line, giving your businesses a great boost. Entering the competition, regardless of where you end up, is also a great opportunity to take a step back and do an audit of your operations. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses, and benchmark yourselves against the competition in the sector. There’s absolutely nothing to lose by entering, so I look forward to receiving your entries and wish all of you the best of luck in the competition ahead.”

The GBPAs have retained two new prizes from last year’s competition, Best Inn and Best Student Pub, and sees the introduction of a new category for 2017: Best Pub Garden.

Bedington added: “We all know the addition of a great outdoor space to your operation can really help lift the business, particularly in the summer months. We’re looking for operators that are really pushing the boat out in that area.”

The Categories 

Best Beer Bar/Pub​ – Open to pubs with an excellent and profitable beer offer that has helped drive business success in the past year.

Best Cider Bar/Pub​ – Open to pubs with a fantastic, money-making cider offer that has helped drive the site’s strong business performance in the past year.

Best Community Pub​ – Open to licensees who have succeeded in building a successful pub business at the centre of their community.

Best Family Pub​ – Open to pubs for which the family market has been a key part of their business success in the past year.

Best Food Pub​ – Recognising pubs for which food sales have been at the heart of their business success.

Best Freehouse​ – Recognising freeholders who have best developed their pub’s business in the past year.

Best Inn​ – Recognising pubs whose accommodation offer has been a core part of their business success in the past year.

Best Live Entertainment Pub​ – Recognising those pubs whose entertainment offer has proved to have been a core part of their
business and driven success in the past year.

Best Managed Pub​ – Recognising managed pubs which have driven trade most successfully over the past year

Best Newcomer​ – Recognising those new licensees who have made the greatest impact since entering the trade (open to licensees who are new to the industry and who entered the trade after 2015).

Best Partnership Pub​ – Recognising licensees who have been the best exponents of the tenanted/leased/franchise model over the past year.

Best Spirits Bar/Pub​ – Celebrating bars/pubs with an excellent and profitable spirits offer that has helped drive business success in the past year.

Best Sports Pub​ – Open to pubs for which sport is a key part of their offer and the site’s success.

Best Student Pub​ – Recognising pubs whose student offer has been a core part of their business success in the past year.

Best Turnaround​ – Recognising pubs that have best turned their business around over the past 12 months

Best Wine Bar/Pub​ – Recognising bars/pubs with an excellent and profitable wine offer that has been a key part of the pub’s success in the past year.

New for 2017

Best Pub Garden​ – Recognising pubs that have developed a great outdoor offer, which adds a real extension to the business in warmer weather as well as offering opportunities year round.

Why enter?

The GBPAs, run by The Morning Advertiser​, are recognised as “the ones to win” by licensees, attracting hundreds of entries from thriving pubs around the UK. With a category to suit every type of pub, this is a fantastic opportunity to be recognised as the best in the trade.

Being selected as a winner or finalist in these prestigious awards offers the opportunity to raise your pub’s profile, opening the door to new customers and potential opportunities. Making the shortlist also generates excellent press coverage which gives you and your team well-deserved recognition.

Top tips on entering

  • Read the entry criteria and ensure you understand what the judges will be looking for and stick to it! Understand the category you are entering and tailor the information to suit.
  • Bring your pub to life through your entry. Examples of initiatives highlighted in your entry help make an impact.
  • Show the evidence. Don’t just put that you have achieved something – back up your statements. Use examples, figures and testimonials where appropriate to illustrate your achievements.
  • Remember to “market” your pub in the entry. Be innovative and show passion.
  • Put your heart and soul into entering! The Great British Pub Awards is an award well worth winning and makes a real difference to your business.

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