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Could you be a Great British Pub Awards winner?

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Having a ball: Heath Ball (centre) with Chris Jowsey of award sponsor Heineken (left) and Ed Bedington of The Morning Advertiser
Having a ball: Heath Ball (centre) with Chris Jowsey of award sponsor Heineken (left) and Ed Bedington of The Morning Advertiser

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Revamped and ready to go, the Great British Pub Awards are back with a new look and new categories to boot. The question now is: do you have what it takes to be crowned a champion this year?

For almost two decades now, the Great British Pub Awards (GBPAs) have been shining a light on the real champions of the trade – the licensees and operators who are in the thick of the action every day.

This bright light that is cast annually on the publicans at the front line of our industry yields so much positivity and influence among consumers, through both press coverage and peer acknowledgement, that it is important to be a part of it.

Current GBPA Pub of the Year winner Heath Ball, of the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, saw a substantial increase in footfall following his win last year.

“It is people understanding and getting what you do,” he said. “A lot of the time the general public don’t get what you do and how hard it is. We get to work early and finish late, so it means a lot to win.

“It reaffirms what you are doing and makes you have confidence in what you are doing – that you aren’t going down the wrong path.”

Challenging process

When he accepted the award, Ball told The Morning Advertiser (MA): “After 12 years of work at the Red Lion & Sun, working really hard, back against the wall sometimes, it is quite overwhelming.

“I don’t cry normally and I am having a bit of a moment right now.

“It was almost like someone saying you had won the lottery, then you don’t believe it and you have to keep checking that you have. It was like that until I was on stage and then I realised.”

Ed Bedington, editor of MA, which organises the event, said: “This competition is an extremely challenging process to go through, with the judging taking place over a number of gruelling stages, so for anyone to get through to the finals is a superb achievement alone.

“The GBPAs recognise the best pubs operating across the UK and are a benchmark for consumers when it comes to choosing where to eat out, drink or go with their family. There is nothing quite like what we do and we love doing it because it makes such a difference to the pubs involved in the whole process.”

It just means everything

Other GBPA 2018 winners include the Phoenix Artist Club in Soho, central London, which won the entertainment category.

Of the win, owner Ken Wright said: “For a small independent in central London, it just means everything. It is another year of surviving against everyone that doesn’t want independent pubs to survive and it means everything.

“To all the technicians behind the scenes, all those people that just put their effort in to make acts brilliant, to find acts and market acts, this is as much for the people behind the scenes as it is for our front-of-house staff.”

The Crown, at Woolhope, Herefordshire, was crowned the best cider pub for the third time and licensee Matt Slocombe said: “We have been championing Herefordshire cider matched with food for almost 20 years, we have been at the pub 11 years but I have been part of the cider fabric of Herefordshire for nearly 20 years and this is just the cream on the top of it.”

So now it’s time for you to tell your pub’s story and reap the rewards that come to the winners of this well-trusted and long-running event.

We want to hear from you if you believe you’ve got the best pub – whether you’re the best for drinks, food or have the best manager (perhaps you’re great a many things) – shout about it.

The categories:

Best for Beer
Open to bars/pubs that have a focus on their beer range. The winner will have an excellent, diverse and unique beer offer that has helped drive business success in the past year.

Best for Spirits
Celebrating bars/pubs that focus on spirits. The winner will have an excellent and diverse spirits offer, that has helped drive business success in the past year.

Best for Wine
Recognising bars/pubs with a focus on their wine/Champagne range. The winner will have a diverse wine range with it being a key part of the pub’s success in the past year.

Best for Cider
Open to bars/pubs that have a focus on their cider range. The winner will have an excellent, diverse and unique cider offer that has helped drive business success in the past year.

Best for Entertainment
Recognising pubs whose entertainment offer (including comedy, live music, theatre) has been a core part of their business success in the past year.

Best for Family
Open to pubs that focus their offer on the family market. Catering for all ages and for whom the family market has been a key part of their business success in the past year. The winner will have a family friendly food, drink offer and facilities to keep all the family entertained.

Best for Food
Open to all pubs with a focus on exceptional food. The winner will consistently deliver value and high standards through their menu, showcasing the quality of ingredients and innovation in how they are prepared.

Best for Sport
Open to bars/pubs that offer the best place to watch sport on match days. The winner will screen multiple sports, have an exceptional audio-visual set-up and welcome a diverse range of sports fans to their site.

Best Local
Open to licensees that have succeeded in building a successful pub business that is at the centre of its community. The winner will offer a range of facilities to their locals, showcasing how a pub can be the hub of a community.

Best Partnership Pub
Recognising licensees that have been the best exponents of the tenanted/leased/franchise model over the past year.

Best Freehouse
Recognising the freeholders that have what they believe is the best pub in the country. The winner will be a strong all-rounder with an exceptional customer offer.

Best Pub Manager
Recognising the best bar/pub manager in the country. The winner can be from any tenure of pub and will go above and beyond consistently to make their pub and team great.

Best Inn
Recognising pubs whose accommodation offer has been a core part of their business success in the past year. The winner will have excellent accommodation standards, offering value and quality.

Best Pub Garden
Recognising the best bar/pub garden in the country. The winner will have an exceptional outside space that has been well designed and developed to offer customers a surprising experience.

Best for LGBTQ+
Open to pubs that focus on the LGBTQ+ community. The winner will demonstrate how their site offers an exceptional experience and celebrates LGBTQ+.

Chef of the Year
Recognising the best bar/pub chefs in the country. The winning chef will be running an exceptional kitchen offering high food standards, a great menu and awareness of cost management.

Young Chef of the Year
Recognising the best bar/pub young chefs in the country. The winning young chef will be under 25 years old, consistently delivering high standards in the kitchen.

Visit www.greatbritishpubawards.co.uk​ to find out more.

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