There’s still time to get your entry in for the Great British Pub Awards with the deadline extended by a week to Wednesday 29 May.
The competition will see pubs from across the UK battle across more than 16 categories with one eventually declared the overall Great British Pub of the Year.
Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “This competition has been going for almost two decades now and recognises and rewards excellence across the sector.
“Entering the awards is a great process for pub operators, and gives them a chance to take a step back from their business and have a look at what they’re doing.
“And if you’re lucky enough to make it through the initial stages and be shortlisted, and even win one of the awards, it’s a great promotional opportunity for your business, and a great way to reward your teams and customers.”
The competition is open for entry now until 29 May, visit www.greatbritishpubawards.co.uk to enter online.
The 16 categories to enter are:
■ Best Pub Manager
■ Best Pub Garden
■ Best for Family
■ Best for Cider
■ Best for Beer
■ Best Inn
■ Best for Spirits
■ Best for LGBTQ+
■ Chef of the Year
■ Young Chef of the Year
■ Best for Food
■ Best for Wine
■ Best Freehouse
■ Best Local
■ Best for Entertainment
■ Best for Sport
Bedington added: “These awards are designed to really flag up the great stuff that is going on across the sector and help give those businesses a well-deserved boost.
“There are many benefits to entering, but don’t take our word for it, read what some of our previous winners have said.”
Owner of the Freemasons at Wiswell, Lancashire, winner of Food Pub of the Year
“Winning the award meant a great deal to me. I took over the Freemasons 10 years ago and, over the past decade, have been involved in every decision made at the pub, from the dishes we put on the menu, to the staff we hire and the paintings we hang on the walls, so to win awards like these is continued validation that we’re going down the right path.
“The awards have a really positive impact on the business. We enjoy a lot of engagement on our social channels and when we share good news such as this, we see a real spike in activity, which then results in new bookings. When people see the news elsewhere, it drives people to our site and, ultimately, drives awareness, which is key for us year on year.
“We all work incredibly hard to create a real experience for our customers and to win an award like this gives everyone a real sense of pride. We know we do a good job but it’s great to have other people recognise it.
“We’ve created menus to celebrate our wins, shouted about it on social media and engaged with press – all of which positions us a destination.
“If you’re thinking of entering the awards, try to think about what sets you apart from the competition – there are a lot of us out there working tirelessly to provide our customers with a great experience but how do you go that one step further? Think how the business interacts with the community, your recruitment process, special events, working with local producers – it all contributes to your overall offering.”
Licensee of the Tap on Tower Street, North Yorkshire, winner of Partnership Pub of the Year
“Entering the awards is a great way to confirm the quality, concept and all the hard work that you have put into building a business. Getting recognition from your peers and having experts in the industry judge you against the best confirms how well you have done.
“It’s the classic thought that you are doing something well and the people around you are telling you are, but you don’t really accept it until people you don’t know tell you! More importantly, it’s a great way to reinforce to the staff that they are doing a great job.
“It’s also great for seeing what the industry considers a winning formula and benchmarking yourself against it. You can also fine-tune your own business to improve it.
“Winning means everything – it’s an endorsement that what you’re doing is right and that people love it. Sometimes, in this industry, and particularly being a small independent like us, things can get very tough. Profits can be, at times, hard to come by, hours extremely long and rewards often minimal. It’s wonderful to get a pat on the back, so you know it’s worth it.
“It gave us increased exposure and a step up in awareness, which is ideal as a back-street boozer in an untrendy part of town. The team was immensely proud of the award and it’s been invaluable in retaining and recruiting staff.
“We made the most of the win through ‘PRing’ the hell out it in the local press and on social media. It 100% culminated in a step-change in sales volumes. For those thinking of entering, my advice would be 100% do it.”
Licensee of the Red Lion & Sun, north London, and winner of the Great British Pub of the Year
“When I was leaving New Zealand in 1993, I said to my sister I’m going to own my own pub. How fantastic it is that 26 years later, my pub takes the overall winner at the Great British Pub Awards?
“Winning the award has given us something to shout about and this is showing in the bottom line.
“Yes, there is a degree of paperwork involved but it’s great to sit down and think about where your business is, so it’s time well spent regardless of how you do in the competition.”
The Bull, Ditchling, East Sussex, winner of Freehouse of the Year and former Great British Pub of the Year in 2016
“I have lived my life trying to prove the doubters wrong. I left a comfortable job, with an international company in an unrelated sector, with only my wife’s support. My family advised against it, the friends from that period thought it was a ridiculous idea. We had no money, no direct experience, no contacts, just a desire to ‘go for it’ and prove the doubters wrong.
“Winning the GBPA awards in ’16 and ’18 was the most satisfying professional achievement we have ever had. To know our that experts such as The Morning Advertiser, which has seen it all before, recognised the graft and passion that we had put into the business, was really quite overwhelming.
“We saw a 13% increase in revenue in 2016-17, which continued and with turnover now 60% higher than prior to us winning the first time, only three years ago. We have invested over £1m in the Bull to support that growth and ambition, and ensure that the pub is more than secure for decades to come.
“We have certainly become a better pub than we were in 2015-16, with improvements across all areas. The best by-product has been the renewed relationship with the village and wider community, who absolute love what we do, have completely embraced the changes and appreciated the investment in a highly important village asset.
“Also it is hugely satisfying that we have retained all of that winning team from 2016.
“We shared those successes with our team on the night and we very much shared it with the whole team post-winning. They felt as proud and as rewarded as we (as owners) did. The subsequent investment and increases in trade have allowed us to grow the team, to employ more people and increase the training available to them. As an example, in 2015-16 our salaries were £315,000, in 2018-19 they were £560,000.
“The awards brought nothing but positivity to our business, our team and our customers. It changed the face of the Bull and what it meant to all those who already knew it and to the many more who subsequently came to find out what all the fuss was about.
“My advice to those thinking of entering is, do it. Prepare properly and treat the awards with the respect they deserve. If you do the first two and you are doing something rather special, The Morning Advertiser has an uncanny knack of recognising you and rewarding where it’s deserved, and if you do win... enjoy the ride!”
For more details on entering the Great British Pub Awards visit www.greatbritishpubawards.co.uk.