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Top pubs shortlisted for Ei Group Awards for Excellence

Ei Group, the UK’s largest pub company, has today (23 May) revealed the shortlisted pubs that have made it to the finals of its annual Ei Group Awards for Excellence.

The awards celebrate the very best operators from across the Ei Group business whose pubs sit at the heart of their communities and which demonstrate both operational excellence and outstanding retail standards.

Three finalist pubs have been identified across multiple categories following an in-depth judging day with a number of industry experts and senior figures. Each finalist will be invited to attend a gala awards ceremony, to be held at the Old Thorns Hotel in Hampshire on 2 July.

Paul Harbottle, Group Commercial Director at Ei Group, said, “Every year we are completely taken aback by the amazing contribution our publicans make to their local communities as they prove again and again that pubs play a fundamental role in the lives of so many people across the UK.

'These awards are a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on some of that passion and energy that our publicans put into running their businesses and reward them for their efforts. We can’t wait to celebrate with all our shortlisted publicans at the awards night, and to reveal the overall winners.”

Pub industry expert Phil Dixon, will now be scrutinising the finalists through a series of site visits and publican interviews, to determine the overall winner across nine out of 12 core categories, including Best Community Hub, Best Sports Venue, Best Multiple Operator and Best Newcomer.

Additional categories are undergoing a separate, rigorous judging process, with shortlisted pubs in the Best Food category being judged by Ei Group’s Food Consultant, Austin Flanagan. Beer quality experts from Wadworth Brewery are assessing shortlisted pubs for the Excellence in Cellar Standards award.

There will also be further awards recognising the most outstanding pubs from across Craft Union Pub Company and Bermondsey Pubs, which are part of Ei Group’s Managed Operations business. The coveted Lifetime Achievement Award winner will also be announced on the evening.

From each category winner, one pub will then be crowned Ei Group Pub of the Year.

The Awards for Excellence shortlist is:
Best Marketing Initiative
Samoan Joes, Coventry
Kings Arms, Okehampton
Three Furnaces, Inn Madeley

Best Outdoor Area
New Inn, Ramsgate
Half Moon, Kirdford
Bell, St Olaves

Best Newcomer
Britannia Gardens, Norwich
Crown Hotel, Pateley Bridge
London Tavern, Poulner

Best Multiple Operator
Jack Halsall
Rob Thompson
Matthew Bonilla

Best Entertainment
Brickmakers, Norwich
Boileroom, Guildford
Crown, Merthyr Tydfil

Best Cellar Standards
Festival, Coventry
Blue Pig, Grantham
Woodman, Ruislip

Best Food Offer
Moody Cow, Ross-on- Wye (dish pictured)
Duck and Willow, Downend
Bay Horse, Hurworth-on-Tees

Best Drink Offer
Tap, Harrogate
Snooty Fox Tavern, Kirkby Lonsdale
Bowling Green, Exeter

Best Sports Venue
Guildford Tup, Guildford
Woolpack, Almondbury
Milford Arms, Isleworth

Best Turnaround Pub
Spread Eagle, Darrington
Old Swan, Earls Barton
Off The Tap, Maidenhead

Best Community Hub
Swan, Thornbury
Lion Hotel, Treorchy
Woodman, Ruislip

Awards judges were:
Brigid Simmonds, CEO of the BBPA
John Longden, Founder of Pub is The Hub
Ed Bedington, Editor at the Morning Advertiser
Mike Clist, CEO of the BII
Tristan O'Hana, Editorial Director at Pub & Bar Magazine
Tony Sophoclides, Strategic Affairs Director at UKHospitality
Robyn Black, Editor at InaPub
Francis Patton, Industry Expert
James Wallin, Editor at MCA
Paul Hegarty, Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group