Pub trade champions crowned at Publican Awards

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Best in show: The Publican Awards 2018
Best in show: The Publican Awards 2018
A night of celebration has seen some of the best operators in the business crowned the top of the class at the 2018 Publican Awards.

The event saw New World Trading Company once again lead the pack taking home three titles, but nipping at their heels was a new entrant to the competition, Brewhouse & Kitchen which took home two titles.

Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser​, which organises the awards, said: “It’s been a brilliant night and we’re really pleased to be able to recognise and reward such excellent businesses.

“This event is all about celebrating some of the great work and companies that we have across the pub sector, and all of our finalists and winners here tonight are a credit to the industry as a whole.

“Judging the awards is a real privilege and while it’s often a real challenge and hard work to pick out winners from such a strong field, it’s always a pleasure to see those companies recognised for the great work that they’re doing.

“When it comes to attracting new talent into our industry, the pub sector has always faced challenges, but awards like this go to show that we’ve got great companies that are nurturing great careers, and that’s something we really need to shout about more.”

New World Trading Company was hot favourite going into the awards after sweeping the board with six category awards last year – and the company did not disappoint, taking three of the four categories it was shortlisted in.

The Cheshire-based operation took the titles of Best Drinks Offer, Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) and Best Pub Operations Team and CEO Chris Hill took home the title of Business Leader of the Year.

Hill said: “It's amazing – I don’t know how to describe it. I have a lot of people who want to work with me and to show them that this is the pinnacle, means a lot."

Hill added: “There is no slowing down for us or for the industry as a whole. We are seeing so much excitement bubbling across the country. As a company, we are focusing on innovating the brands but most importantly supporting the talent we have in our sites and at head office. They are the ones who are driving the future of hospitality.”  

However, New World Trading Company was pipped to the post in the Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites) by new kids on the block Brewhouse & Kitchen, which also went on to claim the title of Best Pub Employer (up to 500 employees).

Executive chairman Kris Gumbrell said: "It means everything to the team. It's taken a lot of commitment from everybody. It feels amazing.”

Other winners on the night included North Bar Brewing Company, which took the title of Best Brewing Pub Company, making it the second year on the bounce for the business.

Operations manager Richard Fiddaman said: “I’m shaken because we genuinely didn’t expect to get it last year, or this year, so we’re shocked.”

Taking the title of large tenanted and leased business was Star Pubs & Bars, beating strong competition from rivals and last year’s winner Greene King.

Chris Moore from Star said: “It's fantastic – this is an amazing achievement. It's fantastic recognition for the work we’re doing every day and our licensees who are out there making great consumer experiences every day of the week.”

The full list of winners are as follows:

Best Brewing Pub Company: North Bar Brewing Company (sponsored by Fentimans)

Best Community Pub Operator: Cornerstone Inns (sponsored by Britvic Soft Drinks)

Best Drinks Offer: New World Trading Company (sponsored by Coca-Cola European Partners)

Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites): Brewhouse & Kitchen (sponsored by Molson Coors)

Best Managed Pub Company (51+): Fuller's (sponsored by CPL Training Group)

Best Pub Employer (up to 500 employees): Brewhouse & Kitchen (sponsored by AB InBev)

Best Pub Employer (501+ employees): New World Trading Company (sponsored by MA Jobs​)

Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (501+ sites) Star Pubs and Bars (sponsored by Kuehne + Nagel)

Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites): Palmers (sponsored by Sky)

Best Value Food Offer: Toby Carvery (sponsored by MCA)

Best Food offer: Seafood Pub Company (sponsored by Carlsberg)

Best Premium Food Offer: Red Mist Leisure (sponsored by CGA Strategy)

Best Accommodation Operator: Anglian Country Inns (sponsored by HGEM)

Best Late Night Operator: Stonegate Pub Company (sponsored by Jägermeister)

Best New Pub/Bar: Impossible Manchester, Tokyo Industries (sponsored by Heineken UK)

Best Pub Brand/Concept: The Alchemist (sponsored by Asahi UK)

Best Pub Operations Team: New World Trading Company (sponsored by Sky)

Business Leader of the Year: Chris Hill, New World Trading Company (sponsored by Poppleston Allen)

Outstanding Industry Contribution: John Sands (sponsored by The Morning Advertiser​)

Celebrations continued late into the night, with sponsors providing a wide range of drinks and entertainment to guests, with headline sponsors Sky featuring a range of sports simulators for people to test their skills, ranging from boxing and cricket to Formula 1 racing and golf.

Bedington added: “The Publican Awards is the main event in the industry’s calendar with more than 1,300 guests joining us to celebrate their peers' success.

“While some of our finalists will be disappointed to walk away empty handed, they should rest assured the final decisions were far from easy, and we’ll look forward to seeing them back in the ring for next year’s event, and wish everyone all the best of luck.

“This is a great industry for us all to work in, and this event really helps to underline that."

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