Skip to main content
3rd April 2023

BII Licensee of the Year 2023 – Semi-Finalists announced!

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is delighted to announce their 12 Semi-Finalists for this year’s Licensee of the Year competition.

Sponsored by fantastic partners Sky, the Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK.

Since the launch in January this year, licensee operators have been entering the competition, showing the judges evidence of how they have been rebuilding their businesses and communities, with a focus on their resilience, sustainability, diversification and commitment to their teams.

This year, the entries and Quarter-Finalists have been of a particularly high standard, making it even more difficult for the team of judges to decide who made the Semi-Finals.

Selected from a field of over 300 entrants, the 12 Semi-Finalists have reached this far in the awards on the basis of their exceptional entry forms, social media and web presence audits and mystery customer visits, courtesy of HGEM. Head Judges, Sue Allen CBII and Ashley McCarthy CBII, will be making their way across the country over the next few weeks to meet all of the Semi-Finalists in person to experience their businesses first hand.

The 2023 Licensee of the Year Semi-Finalists are as follows:

Samantha & Mark Robinson – Queens Head – LA23 1PW
Heather & Caroline Porter-Brandwood – The Bellflower – PR3 0JA
Nick Hunter – The Happy Cheese – SO40 7AR
Michelle Gilmour – The Old Windmill – CV1 3BA
Lee & Keris De Villiers – The Pig & Whistle – SW18 5LD
Stewart Odd – The Ring O’Bells – BS40 6JE
Kate Hayden – The Snow Goose – GU14 9DX
William Sheldon – The Tiger Inn – TN25 6BA
Ollie Coulombeau – The Turks Head – TW1 1LF
Joe Buckley – Tollemache Arms – NN6 9NU
Tommy Fox – The Barrelman – DD1 2AJ
Josh & Tobi Hardisty – Black Horse Hotel – BD23 5AT

To learn more about the LOYA Semi-Finalists, please visit the BII website:

Steven Alton, BII CEO commented:

“Our Licensee of the Year Award is the most prestigious & hard-fought award, showing the excellence in our sector; our Semi-Finalists are of a fantastic standard.

“We are proud that the awards process this year, more than ever, is offering a value-added experience to all those involved with business insight and the chance to evaluate your business available at every stage. In addition to the mystery customer visits, facilitated once again by HGEM, we have this year been supported by useyourlocal who have been promoting our entrants to consumers across the whole of the UK. With Cask Marque auditing cellars in addition to the visits from our Head Judges, Sue and Ashley, the competition this year will provide more value to contestants than ever before.”

Our Finalists will be announced week commencing 15th May 2023.

All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the BII Summer Event on the 20th June, where the overall winner of Licensee of the Year 2023 will be crowned.

If you would like tickets to the event of the summer to see the best operators in the UK being recognised, you can visit the BII website here.

The BII would like to thank everyone who has entered the competition this year. Keep your eyes peeled for another opportunity to enter in the January 2024.


Notes to the editor:

About the British Institute of Innkeeping:

The BII is the leading independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality, with 10,000 individual members running premises across the UK – predominantly tenanted, leased, managed and freehold pubs. The organisation provides expert helplines, online business support, and guidance on key industry issues, and savings on a range of supply deals for its members, keeping pubs thriving in the heart of every community.

For further information please contact:

Molly Davis

Head of Communications

Sentinel House, Ancells Business Park, Harvest Crescent, Fleet, GU51 2UZ

Mob: 07539 377752