publican awards

Fuller’s success! Emeny scoops Business Leader award at Publican Awards 2020

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Happy faces: the pub industry celebrated its successes at the 29th Publican Awards in London
Happy faces: the pub industry celebrated its successes at the 29th Publican Awards in London

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The best pub and bar operators were celebrating success with almost 1,500 people from the sector at The Publican Awards 2020.

The industry’s top companies attended the event at Evolution London for a night that celebrated excellence across the pub and bar business, hosted by top comedian Rob Beckett.

The evening saw a broad mix of pub companies take home titles with Stonegate (Best Pub Employer – 501+ employees), Liberation Group (Best Food Offer) and The Inn Collection Group (Best Pub Employer – up to 500 employees) celebrating success for the second year on the run across its category entries.

Other winners on the night included Punch Pubs & Co, which took the title of Best Tenanted & Leased Pub Company (501+ sites) and Shepherd Neame, taking the award for Best Tenanted & Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites).

Speaking following the group's success, Punch marketing and strategy director Russell Danks said: "I’m dead proud of this for our people and publicans and everyone who works for us."

St Austell’s president James Staughton OBE was honoured for his Outstanding Industry Contribution, while Fuller’s CEO Simon Emeny was named Business Leader of the Year following a major deal that took his family-owned business in a new direction.

Emeny said: "Strangely at the end of a wonderful evening, I seem to have won an award which is very nice. I think it’s been a great night.

"For me, having been to these awards since about 1994, it’s just wonderful to be recognised in front of everyone after so many years. [Working in pubs] is a skilled job and it’s superb."

Intense competition 

Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser​, which organises the awards, said: “Many congratulations to all our winners and finalists in this year’s competition.

“This is the 29th year we’ve run these awards and the competition is always intense, which is great to see. The standards within the companies that make up the shortlisted finalists are outstanding and it was a real pleasure to be part of the judging process.

“This event is the leading awards in the sector and, as a result, they’re not easy to win – it’s a robust judging process and companies have to work really hard to see success in the awards. I’d like to praise all our winners for doing such a fantastic job in a very tough battle.”

Other winners on the night included Urban Pubs & Bars, which took the title for Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites) while Mitchell & Butlers’ Nicholson’s brand took the prize for Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites).

Inception Group was named Best Late Night Operator while Cirrus Inns took the title for Best Drinks Offer. Greene King was celebrating after being named the Best Sustainable Pub Company while North Brewing took the title for Best Brewing Pub Company.

A range of leading industry suppliers helped sponsor the event and provided a range of bars for guests to celebrate the night away, they included: Asahi UK, Assured Food Standards, Bacardi-Martini, Britvic, Brothers, Budweiser Brewing Group, CGA, Coca-Cola European Partners, CPL Learning, Diageo, Fentimans, Fever-Tree, Freixenet, Heineken UK, Kettle Foods, Kopparberg, Kuehne and Nagel, Liquor 43, MCA Insight, Molson Coors, Poppleston Allen, Smokehead, Sky Business, Stryyk, WKD. 

Full list of winners:

Best Premium Food Offer – Anglian Country Inns

Best Pub Brand/Concept – Hickory’s

Best Community Pub Operator – Craft Union Pub Company

Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) – Stonegate Pub Company

Best Late Night Operator – Inception Group

Best Drinks Offer – Cirrus Inns

Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites) – Mitchell & Butlers brand Nicholson’s

Best Brewing Pub Company – North Brewing Co

Best Food Offer – Liberation Group

Best New Pub/Bar – Head of Steam, Leeds – Camerons Brewery

Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (501+ sites) – Punch Pubs & Co

Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites) – Shepherd Neame

Best Managed Pub Company (2-50 sites) – Urban Pub and Bars

Business Leader of the Year – Simon Emeny, Fuller’s

Best Sustainable Pub Company – Greene King

Best Pub Operations Team – Hippo Inns

Best Accommodation Operator - Brakspear

Best Pub Employer (up to 500 employees) – The Inn Collection Group

Outstanding Industry Contribution – James Staughton OBE, St Austell

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