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Posted: 09 July 2014
The Marine Hotel in Whitstable has been named Pub of the Year in the annual Shepherd Neame Pub Awards.
It was among 14 of the brewery’s 348 pubs and hotels across London and the South East honoured in a glittering ceremony at the Conningbrook Hotel in Ashford on Tuesday, July 8.
Awards were given for various aspects of running a successful pub, such as pulling the perfect pint, serving consistently great food and being at the heart of the local community.
The Marine Hotel underwent a major transformation in spring 2013, and judges praised manager Kathryn Gracey for her dedicated efforts to build on the investment and deliver phenomenal business growth.
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame, who presented the awards, said: “Kathryn has been with us since February last year, and she and her team have worked incredibly hard since the refurbishment, to generate impressive growth in the hotel’s business.”
Kathryn said: “I am very proud of our achievements at the Marine Hotel during the past 18 months. I have a fantastic team of staff, and I am thrilled that their hard work and dedication has been recognised with this award.”
The Restaurant of the Year Award went to the Compasses at Crundale. Judges praised the Compasses team for its skilful use of local and seasonal produce to create a delicious, beautifully presented menu. Particular mention was given to the friendly service provided by staff, and the restaurant’s relaxed ambience. The Pub Food of the Year Award went to the Blue Anchor at Crowborough, which impressed judges with its smoke house and use of smoked meats in innovative dishes throughout the menu. They also praised the high quality of its classic pub dishes.
The Millers Arms in Canterbury won the Perfect Pint Award, with judges praising Paul Henderson and his team for going the extra mile to serve fantastic beer, while the Shakespeare in Canterbury, run by Gareth Finney and Dan Sidders, was named Wine Pub of the Year for its exceptional staff knowledge and the introduction of innovative ‘wine flights’ tastings, which have resulted in sales growth of 500%.
Lee Walker at the Britannia in Guildford was named Manager of the Year. Lee has been at the pub for four years, and judges praised his extraordinary hard work and commitment during that time, demonstrated by like for like growth in excess of 17% during the past year, despite being flooded twice.
The Managed Business of the Year went to the Dog and Bear Hotel in Lenham. It underwent an extensive refurbishment 18 months ago, and managers Brian and Anne Hogg, who have been at the pub for 10 years, were praised for their hard work to drive sales and profit to record levels.
The New Licensee of the Year Award was presented to Tom and Karensa Miller of the Zetland Arms in Kingsdown, praised for transforming the pub and driving exceptional sales growth since taking over in January 2013. The Tenanted Pub of the Year Award went to Michael Stokes of the Hoop and Grapes in Farringdon, for consistently excellent beer quality and his dedicated efforts to promote beer, resulting in an impressive year on year sales growth.
Chris and Marie Annand, licensees of the Bear Inn, Faversham, received the Heart of the Community Pub of the Year award for the huge number of events they have organised or hosted, from charity golf days and sports quizzes to themed food tastings, WI meetings and Scrabble, darts and crib events. The Rose Inn, Herne Bay, won Best Floral Display for its colourful hanging baskets, tubs and window boxes, lovingly tended by licensees Karen and Barry Hazell.
The Woolpack in Chilham was named Marketing Pub of the Year, after licensees Terry and Nicola Green embraced a wealth of unusual methods to attract customers, including introducing a food and drink takeaway service, becoming the village’s Post Office parcel drop and offering a shuttle service to any destination for guests.
Keith and Theresa Wild were honoured with the Turnaround Pub of the Year award, for their hard work to transform the Prince of Wales at Reigate.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Peter and Glenice Dowsett of the Rose Inn, Kennington, who are due to retire in October after 19 years with Shepherd Neame.
Jonathan Neame added: “Shepherd Neame pubs and hotels offer our customers a distinctive experience, a great portfolio of celebrated beers and unique wines, delicious fresh food and warm, friendly service. These awards are testimony to the hard work, dedication, and creativity of all our licensees and a celebration of excellence in this industry."
FULL LIST OF WINNING PUBS AND LICENSEES
Best Floral Display – Rose Inn, Herne Bay
Marketing Pub of the Year – Woolpack, Chilham
Heart of the Community Pub of the Year – Bear Inn, Faversham
Wine Pub of the Year – Shakespeare, Canterbury
Perfect Pint of the Year – Millers Arms, Canterbury
Turnaround / Transformation Pub of the Year – Prince of Wales, Reigate
Pub Food of the Year – Blue Anchor, Crowborough
Restaurant of the Year – Compasses, Crundale
New Licensee of the Year – Zetland Arms, Kingsdown
Manager of the Year – Lee Walker at the Britannia in Guildford
Tenanted Pub of the Year – Hoop & Grapes, Farringdon
Managed Business of the Year – Dog and Bear Hotel, Lenham
Lifetime Achievement – Peter and Glenice Dowsett at the Rose Inn, Kennington
Shepherd Neame Pub of the Year – The Marine Hotel, Whitstable