Around 1,400 people attended the pub industry’s biggest awards event at Battersea Evolution in London on Tuesday 12 March, to see some of the best businesses in the sector honoured by host Alan Carr.
Stonegate was celebrating after taking the titles of Best Community Pub Operator, Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) and Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites). On top of this, its recent acquisition, Be At One took home the title of Best Drinks Offer.
On receiving the Best Community Pub Operator award, a spokesperson said: “It feels fantastic to win the award as we’ve put a lot of hard work into it.
“More so, we’ve got a fantastic team back at Stonegate – this award is dedicated to their hard work.”
Other big winners on the night include Fuller, Smith & Turner, which celebrated after taking home the titles of Best Accommodation Operator and Best Pub Operations Team.
A spokesperson said: “Best operations team and we’re a team full of chefs – it shows the work we’ve put into the food in the past seven to eight years now.
"This reward recognises the hard work our chefs put it in week in, week out.
"I’d like to mention, specifically, that it's because of our hard-working chefs that we’re stood here today picking up this award."
Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “This event is always a pleasure to host, and we’re delighted to be able to recognise some of the great businesses that work in our sector.
“Congratulations to Stonegate, who’ve done exceptionally well this year across a range of categories.
"They’re a great example of a business that despite growing considerably in scale, haven’t lost sight of the core principles of what makes its operation so successful – people and pubs.
- Best Accommodation Operator: Fuller, Smith & Turner
- Best Pub Brand/Concept: Inception Group – Mr Fogg’s
- Best Brewing Company: JW Lees Brewery
- Best Sustainability Pub Company: Darwin & Wallace
- Best Community Pub Operator: Stonegate Pub Company
- Best Food Offer: The Liberation Group
- Best Premium Food Operator: Cirrus Inns
- Best Drinks Offer: Be At One
- Best Late Night Operator: The Deltic Group
- Best New Pub/Bar: The Box – Arc Inspirations
- Best Pub Employer (Up to 500 employees): The Inn Collection Group
- Best Pub Employer (501+ employees): Stonegate Pub Company
- Best Pub Operations Team: Fuller, Smith & Turner
- Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites): The New World Trading Company
- Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites): Stonegate Pub Company
- Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company: Admiral Taverns
- Business Leader of the Year: Simon Longbottom, Stonegate Pub Company
- Outstanding Industry Achievement: Rooney Anand, Greene King
“These awards are not easy to win, and simply getting to the finals is quite an achievement with a robust judging process that really puts our finalists and winners through their paces.
“Judging these awards is a real privilege and it’s reassuring to see some of the great work that is going on in the industry, I’d like to congratulate all our finalists and winners.”
Other winners on the night included Manchester brewers JW Lees, which took home the title of Best Brewing Pub Company and nightclub specialists Deltic, which took the title of Best Late Night Operator.
Be At One's Matt Flemming was overwhelmed upon receiving the Best Drinks Offer award.
Cannot put it into words
“We’ve just won Best Drinks Offer and we cannot put it into words," exclaimed Flemming.
“It’s cliché, but it’s because of our team that we’re here picking up this award and, for that, we’ll be forever grateful."
Rooney Anand, outgoing chief executive of Greene King was voted the winner for Outstanding Industry Contribution for his 18 years in the business. He was praised for his commitment to training and his hard work in taking Greene King forward to being one of the leading players in the pub sector.
“I’m very delighted and honoured to accept this," said Anand.
"I’m really accepting it on behalf of all my friends and colleagues at Greene King, it is really their award as well as mine."
Headline sponsors Sky used the event to urge the industry to look to its environmental responsibilities by highlighting a range of issues it is focusing on within its business, including Sky Ocean Rescue.
That focus on the environment and the good work the sector is doing also inspired a new award for this year’s competition, the Best Sustainable Pub Company, which was won by Darwin & Wallace who impressed the judges with its green credentials.
The awards would not happen without the support of: AB InBev, Asahi, Britvic, Bacardi, Carlsberg UK, CGA, Coca-Cola European Partners, CPL Online, Fentimans, Food Spark, Freixenet, Fever-Tree, Heineken, Kuehne + Nagel, Indie Brands the distribution partner for Puerto de Indias, Molson Coors, Poppleston Allen, Southern Comfort, Tanqueray and Tia Maria all ensured the party carried on into the wee small hours with further entertainment provided by beat box experts Duke, the Rick Parfitt Junior Band and DJs provided by drinks brand WKD.