Craft Union Pub Co celebrates operators making outstanding contributions

Craft Union Pub Company has celebrated the outstanding contribution its operators make in their communities across the country at its eagerly-anticipated annual operator awards, held at Butlins Minehead.

Over 900 people came together at the show stopping event, now into its fifth year, with more than 300 pubs awarded a combined total of £180k in reward and recognition, whilst a further £13k was donated to charity.

The celebration included a number of pub-themed daytime activities, such as the Bar Olympics, Bingo and Craft Union Karaoke final, to name a few. The evening followed the theme of ‘A night at the movies’ with operators enjoying a meal and a dazzling programme of entertainment.

The Sun Inn, Stockton scooped the Most Outstanding Pub of the Year award-winning £2k and a holiday to Las Vegas; and The Landsdowne,Torquay, won the coveted Community Pub of the Year Award, scooping £5k to support local charities of its choice.

The Community Pub of the Year category is a special award that celebrates a pub which best demonstrates the company’s core values around supporting their local community. Judges praised The Landsdowne, for the extensive work it has implemented over the past year, supporting over 15 charities, including the British Heart Foundation, Torquay Macmillan and Air Ambulances UK.

The winners were chosen after a rigorous judging process involving Regional Managers nominating pubs based on their community initiatives. This list was then whittled down to a shortlist of 20, before the overall winner was chosen.

In addition, Craft Union announced 25 winners from its ‘Love Your Local’ campaign, who all received a donation to support a local charity. The initiative, which ran throughout February, asked customers to nominate the pub they love by writing a ‘love letter’, which were submitted via post boxes across the estate. In total, over 5,000 letters were received and judged.

Other awards on the evening, including a group trip to Benidorm and Amsterdam, sponsored by supply partners Global Brands and Heineken, respectively, recognising high performing pubs. The evening also celebrated the launch of the ‘Golden Oldie Members Club’, celebrating operators who have partnered with Craft Union for over five years.

Frazer Grimbleby, Operations Director, Craft Union Pub Company, said: “It gives me and my entire team immense pride to hold another Craft Union operator awards. The event gives us the opportunity to get together as a business and celebrate the outstanding contribution our operators make to communities up and down the country.

“Pubs supporting the communities they serve is a deep-rooted value of ours, and it was fantastic to be able to recognise and reward the achievement of our operators who truly live and breathe our values day in, day out and consistently go above and beyond to make a difference.

“As the business grows, going from strength to strength, it makes our role as judges ever more challenging. The quality and calibre of entries we receive continues to astound and it is truly amazing to see what can be achieved by a union of people all pulling in the same direction, with the same goal – to create outstanding pubs at the heart of communities. This focus will drive momentum throughout the year ahead and I’m looking forward to the next awards already.”

Anne Voss, operator at The Landsdowne, Torquay, added, “It is a true honour to win the Community Pub of the Year and gain recognition for all the hard work my amazing team put into the local community. It really is the driving force behind everything we do. The whole event really nails down what Craft Union is all about – a team of people who get together to share enjoyment, laughter and make memories. It really is no different to the atmosphere we all create in our pubs across the country, it’s just we’re on the other side of the bar.”