Publican Awards

Publican Awards: the 2017 winners explain why you should enter for 2018

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Multiple wins: New World Trading Company picked up six Publican Awards
Multiple wins: New World Trading Company picked up six Publican Awards
Because of the intensity of competition and the thoroughness with which entrants to the categories are scrutinised, the Publican Awards are rightly judged the ones to win. So what does it take to come out on top? Find out from the first round of our profiles on those that triumphed last year.

Setting records is something the New World Trading Company has almost made its own.

Whether that’s when it comes to setting Guinness World Records at a number of its sites around the UK for things like gin tasting or cider tasting, or taking titles at the Publican Awards, this is a company which likes to stand apart.

And last year, at Battersea Evolution, stand apart it did, stunning the audience with six separate wins across all six categories it was shortlisted for.

Calling all entrants

The 2018 Publican Awards are now open for entry and this year we’re doing it all online. To enter your company into one or more of the 17 categories available, visit 
www.publicanawards.co.uk​ and click on the option to enter. Time is of the essence as the awards deadline closes on 10 November​. Good luck to all who enter.

For further information, contact Rachel Ward on 01293 610394 or email her on rachel.ward@wrbm.com

Determination to win

Chief executive Chris Hill described the night as “surreal”. “We first entered the awards in 2013 and we were gutted to come away empty-handed.”

He said that experience made the company determined to strive harder and the following two years they were successful, taking home two awards each time.

But even he wasn’t expecting their level of success in 2017’s competition, describing himself as “shell-shocked” following the event.

The six titles the business swept the board in included best large employer, best new site and best small managed pub company.

Spread the word

Hill said the awards have helped him spread the word about the business far and wide. “The Publican Awards have always been the ones most talked about in the sector, the ones to win, 

and we always knew we had to put our hat in the ring.

“We’re getting bigger but we’re not a big company, but our success at the Publican Awards has meant that people know who we are, and it’s helped increase our reputation in the sector.”

He said the transparency and thoroughness of the competition’s judging process means these are the awards people really look to and want to win, and as such the companies that win are deserved winners and people respect that.

When it comes to his advice on entering the awards for other companies, he remains massively competitive. “Don’t bother entering, we’ve got it sewn up,” he jokes.

However, his key advice for those looking to enter is to focus on running the best operation you can: “If you’re doing that, you can rest assured the judging process will recognise that.” 

'Pub Oscars!'

Twenty years ago, North Bar was born in the Yorkshire city of Leeds. Two decades on, the business has gone from strength to strength and added another arm – North Brewing Co.

Winners of the 2017 Best Brewing Pub Company award, North Brewing Co director John Gyngell highlighted how important the success was to the company.

He said: “We really enjoyed the judging process. It makes you look at your business in a new light – where things are going well, what you could do better, what we need to change.

“It also gave us the opportunity to meet some great people – the judges, the Publican Awards staff and fellow nominees – who are now good friends and important industry contacts.”

Becoming finalists in the competition was a feat in itself, with a glittering ceremony Gyngell describes as on “another level”.

He added: “We were thrilled to get through to the finals. The event itself is on another level – the pub Oscars!

“We genuinely didn’t think we stood a chance of winning. Our category was super strong and we were definitely the minnows.

“It was a thrill just to see our name on the screen behind Jonathan Ross, and it was a complete shock when it was read out. We also got the opportunity to give Jonathan Ross a cuddle on stage.”

Meeting the chat show host wasn’t the only plus point of winning the award. “The benefits are difficult to quantify but it definitely feels like it has raised our profile and how we are viewed by our industry contemporaries,” said Gyngell.

“It was easily our most viewed, liked and seen post on all forms of social media this year. Winning the award also feels like it has opened the door to further award nominations and opportunities.”

 

Dramatic innovations

Traditional multi-generational family brewer Everards took the title of Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 200 sites) at the awards this year. The company has a large regional estate of more than 170 pubs, centred mainly in the Midlands and stretching to a 70-mile radius around its Leicester base.

The business, led by managing director Stephen Gould, has undertaken a series of dramatic innovations in the past few years, particularly the Project William estate building scheme, which sees Everards purchase run-down or closed pubs and then hand them over to a tenant/small brewer to run and showcase their own beers – the only caveat being that the pub sells one Everards beer.

On winning, a spokesman said: “We were delighted to win Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 200 pubs) at the Publican Awards 2017. 

“It’s an award that recognises the dedication of our whole team and it increases the sense of pride in our independent family business. It also reflects our great pubs, which are all run by independent business owners, so it was a real team award.”

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Publican Awards 2018

Award

The Publican Awards, now more than a quarter of a century old, is the leading benchmark for success across the pub company market and the hunt is now on for the 2018 winners. The competition will culminate in a huge celebration on 13 March 2018, at Battersea Evolution, London, where the winners will be revealed. With 17 categories to enter, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses large and small and the competition offers operator a great chance to benchmark their businesses.

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