No less than three of St Austell pub teams have made it through to the semi-finals in this year’s Licensee of the Year competition run by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the leading professional body representing the UK’s licensees.
Sponsored by Sky, the BII Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual pub operators in the U.K; a longstanding award which has been held annually for over 20 years.
Of the twelve semi-finalists from across the UK, the Polgooth Inn, the Victoria Inn at Threemilestone and the Ship Inn at Pentewan have made it into the prestigious list, constituting a quarter of the overall national award list.
Delighted to have been included in the final twelve, Polgooth Inn landlord Alex commented, “This is a real honour for us both and for the entire team that works so hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for our customers every day. Scoring 100% in the mystery visitor round was an amazing achievement and down to the high standards we all set ourselves. We always try to go above and beyond here at the Polgooth and that came through clearly in the last round of judging, so we’re really excited about the prospect of a place in the finals.”
Kim from the Ship Inn at Pentewan said, “To be honest I was completely shocked when I found out about being a semi-finalist. We’ve got such a great community around us so it’s a privilege for us to be able to help out with fundraising and I can always rely on the support of my locals when we need something doing. It’s a real partnership but to have your efforts and those of the entire team recognised by the BII is such a thrill and if we make it into the finals, it will be because of everyone’s efforts and a real team prize.”
The Victoria Inn landlord Mark Holden commented, “This is such an honour for both myself and Justin, who has operated some of Truro’s highest profile venues over the past 20 years. It’s testament to the hard work and dedication our team puts into The Victoria, which has continued to grow over the past 8 years since we took it on.
“It’s especially pleasing to score 100% in the mystery shopper round which helped us through to this stage, an amazing achievement by our team. Justin, myself and Team Vic are constantly working on ways to improve The Victoria and are looking forward to our judging visit in the next few weeks.”
As Tenanted Estate Manager Jim Sloan put it, “We know we have some of the most talented pub operators out there in the business and to have their efforts recognised at this level is amazing. To have one publican up for the biggest prize on the pub operator’s calendar is great but to have three is fantastic. They all thoroughly deserve to be there and we’re looking forward to finding out if one of them will end up picking up the final award.”
Since the launch in January, people working in the licensed trade were encouraged to not only register themselves but also nominate others. Yet again the BII has been delighted with the result, seeing customers, colleagues, pub companies, breweries and fellow operators all nominating their favourite ‘local’.
Selected from over 200 entrants, the final twelve include licensees from across the breadth of the UK, from many different types of pubs. Our judges, Sue Allen, BII Director of Commercial and Membership and Chief Judge and previous LOYA winner, Ashley McCarthy will now visit and judge these pubs in person, conducting in depth interviews.
Once they have completed their tour of the semi-finalists’ pubs, the judges will have the difficult task of whittling them down to the six finalists, who will be put through their paces by a panel of industry experts in three areas: Marketing & Business Development, Financial Awareness and People Development.
All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the BII Summer Event on the 5th June, where the winner of Licensee of the Year 2018 will be crowned.