The Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom, beat off strong competition from across the UK to secure the overall title of pub of the year at the finals in London yesterday (7 September) after first being named Partnership Pub of the Year.
The Lancashire based business drew praise from the judges for its work as a social enterprise, giving opportunity and career options to disadvantaged young people, from young offenders through to people with disabilities.
Having taken the pub from run down and closed just six years ago, Glen Duckett, licensee of the Daniel Thwaites tenancy, has built a superb and thriving business. He said: “I'm absolutely in awe. To pick up Best Partnership Pub and then Best Pub overall is just amazing. I'm totally overwhelmed. We won the award I was expecting to win but this has totally caught me by surprise. We really weren't expecting it. I'm elated by what we have done and how we push young people to make themselvesas employable as possible."
Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, known as the Oscars of the pub industry, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce the winner is the Eagle and Child. Not only is this a beautiful pub, with a superb food and drink offer, but Glen and his team have done sterling work in offering opportunities to people who might not have had them otherwise.
“The Great British Pub Awards aims to celebrate excellence and best practice in the pub industry and Glen is a superb example of this. We talk about pubs being at the centre of their communities, and this can’t be better illustrated than in the work being done at the Eagle and Child.
“These awards are the best in the industry and the judging process the most rigorous, I’d like to pay tribute to all our finalists and winners on the night, you’re all a credit to the pub trade.”
Other winners on the night included The Roebuck in Laughton, East Sussex, which took the title of Freehouse of the Year. Licensee Tony Leonard said: “I'm ecstatic. Tonight has been brilliant. We've entered and been finalists before with our other pub, The Snowdrop, Lewes, but I think the competition was a lot harder this year. It's so wonderful for us, our team and our village. We are the only pub in our village and to be crowned Best Freehouse is just the greatest feeling."
The Famous Three Kings in Fulham, London, was celebrating doing the double, after also taking the title of Sports Pub of the Year last year. General manager Paul Eastwood said: “The first year we were expecting it a little, but the second year we were told was impossible. All credit has to go to the guys who have been fantastic. As a company and as a pub we never stand sill and try to always put something new in place. We've been working all year for this and it's just amazing."
The winners in all 17 categories were:
OVERALL JOHN SMITH'S GREAT BRITISH PUB OF THE YEAR 2017
BEER PUB/BAR OF THE YEAR
CIDER PUB/BAR OF THE YEAR
COMMUNITY PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Admiral)
FAMILY PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by CCEP)
FOOD PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Booker/Makro)
FREEHOUSE OF THE YEAR
INN OF THE YEAR
LIVE ENTERTAINMENT PUB OF THE YEAR
BEST MANAGED PUB OF THE YEAR
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Punch Taverns)
PARTNERSHIP PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by EI Group)
PUB GARDEN OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Southern Comfort)
SPIRITS BAR/PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Diageo)
SPORTS PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Sky)
STUDENT PUB OF THE YEAR
TURNAROUND PUB OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Molson Coors)
WINE PUB/BAR OF THE YEAR
Ifeoma Dozie, brand director for John Smith’s said: “Huge congratulations to the Eagle and Child in Ramsbottom for winning the Great British Pub of the Year! It is a truly stunning pub – from the views, to the food, the events, the atmosphere, the beers and the staff. It’s all these factors together that make British pubs the best in the World, and the Eagle and Child is worthy winner and there was incredibly stiff competition!
“We are so lucky in this country to have an abundance of pubs - nowhere else in the world has pubs like us Brits. Pubs are central to all our lives – they’re the place where memories are made, from first dates, to birthday nights out, to great evenings with mates. They are so central to every village, town and city in the UK and the people that run them are pillars of their communities. Pubs are the places where people come together whether it’s for a pub quiz, weekly karaoke, live local bands, stand-up comedy, or just to simply enjoy a refreshing pint.
“The raft of extraordinary pubs in this country is a testament to the hard work of licensees up and down the country – so well done to not only the winner, but to every pub that made the shortlist.”