The Greyhound in Ipswich wins top honour in Adnams Pub Awards
- Credit: Su Anderson
The Greyhound in Ipswich has been named as Adnams’ Pub of the Year for 2014 following a poll of customers.
Southwold-based Adnams invited customers to nominate their favourite pubs in three categories – Community Pub of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service and Best Presented Pub – with the number of votes cast being weighted against the volume of beer sold by each pub, in order to create an even contest between large and small outlets.
Other categories, which were judged internally, included Best Kept Cellar, Sustainability/Use of Local Produce, Best Newcomer and Best Turnaround.
The Greyhound, run by tenants Dan and Emma Lightfoot, was named as Community Pub of the Year and was then selected from among the other category winners for the overall Pub of the Year title, having also scored highly in the two other customer categories.
Customers described the Greyhound as being at the heart of the community and everything that a good pub should be, with the quality of its food, beer and customer services all being highlighted, alongside a wide range of events.
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One customer said: “I feel part of the community here as they host lots of events that extend my knowledge of what’s going on locally.”
Other comments included: “A longstanding, much loved ‘local’, it offers the finest food and drink and the staff treat everyone as a friend” and “It’s the meeting place for local clubs and just an all-round safe and pleasant environment – a lovely place to drink good beer and have great conversation.”
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Dan Lightfoot said it was the second time in his three-and-a-half years as landlord at the Greyhound that it had achieved recognition in the Adnams awards.
“It is a great honour, we are really pleased,” he said. “It is quite nice because this is the first year the customers got to vote for the award, and our staff got loads of praise from them.
“It shows all the staff’s hard work gets recognised and is appreciated. I am really pleased for them.”
He added: “We always trying to keep the standards high, and we make sure the staff are friendly, Our customers always made to feel welcome. We are grateful to them for their support and votes.”
Dan, who lives in Ipswich with his wife Emma and family, has been in the business for 20 years. His first job was working part-time in the kitchens and he became the pub’s chef before taking over as landlord.
The Excellence in Customer Service award went to the Randolph at Reydon, near Southwold, which is run by tenants David and Donna Smith.
They received some glowing comments for their outstanding service, with one customer commenting: “From the warm welcome you receive as you enter to the warm thanks you get when you leave, the staff cannot do enough for you.” Another added: “Even when they are rushed they make you feel as if you are their only customer.”
The award for Best Presented Pub was won by the Eels Foot Inn at Eastbridge – near the Minsmere RSPB reserve – which is run by tenants Julian Wallis and Amy Whitelock.
Customers remarked on the “chocolate-box” appearance of the pub, with comments including “One of best welcomes, best beer and best ambience I have ever experienced” and “Exactly how a village pub should be.”
For the Best Kept Cellar award, Adnams quality control brewer Robert Porter visited each entrant unannounced to assess cellar conditions, which are important in maintaining the quality of cask ales, and the quality of the beer being served.
The winner was the White Horse at Westleton, run by tenants Rob Spendlove and John Blades, with Robert describing the beer quality as “excellent”. The winner of the Sustainability/Use of Local Produce award was the Cherry Tree at Woodbridge, run by tenants Andy Thompson and James Buckingham who grow their own vegetables and are avid composters as well as sourcing ingredients from local supplyings and making their own spicy nuts and pork scratchings.
The awards ceremony was held at the Swan Hotel in Southwold and hosted by Adnams operations director Karen Hester, who completed the line-up of winners by awarding two of her own “Special Recognition Oscars”.
The Horse and Groom at Wrentham was named as Best Newcomer, with Jack Fountain described as having “taken a struggling pub and turned it into the hub of the local community”, by hosting village events, creating a small holding and using local produce.
And the Mill Inn in Aldeburgh won the Best Turnaround title, with Karen Carver and Steve Hydes described as having “breathed new life into this iconic pub” by offering a friendly greeting to visitors and locals and offering hearty, fresh and seasonal food.
Karen Hester said: “The hospitality industry remains a tough one, which is why we believe it’s important to take the time to celebrate the continuing success of our hard-working tenants. We thank and congratulate all of our finalists and huge congratulations to all our worthy winners.”