The judges commended Higgs for how he made every part of the site work, with great food offered inside and outside of the pub.
Higgs took on the tenancy with Hook Norton Brewery in 2013 and has described the Castle as a “destination venue” rather than “just a pub”.
The Castle was announced as the winner at the BII annual Summer Event today (Tuesday 13 June), held at the Artillery Garden at the Honourable Artillery Company in Moorgate, east London.
Higgs said: "I'm overwhelmed for myself and the team. It's been a big year. I never thought I would win."
Finalists for this year's competition, which was sponsored by Sky, included Clive Price of the Bletchingley Arms in Bletchingly, Surrey; Chantelle Tupman-John from the Waggon Inn, Uppermill in Greater Manchester; Tim Tomlinson from Merchants 1688 in Lancaster; Jennifer Kuhn from the Windsor Fenchurch, City of London; and Mark Thornhill of the Kings Head in Hursley, Hampshire.
BII CEO Mike Clist congratulated all the finalists and outlined the rigorous judging process each of the licensees had to go through.
BII chairman Anthony Pender said the judging was tough and agreed with Clist's comments on how all the finalists deserved to be winners.
Pender added: "I would advise a lot of people to go and visit the winner, Mark Higgs at the Castle, it is more than just a pub."
The process included visits from a range of judges to assess standards from car parks, outside areas to cellars and kitchens, as well as trading areas.
The finalists also faced a series of judging panels yesterday (Monday 12 June) including industry experts quizzing them during half-hour sessions on business development, finance, and people and training.