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21st November 2022

Craft Union Pub Company announce winners of Operator Awards 2022

Craft Union Pub Company, which was named the Best Community Operator at the 2022 Publican Awards, has announced this year’s winners of its Operator Awards.

The Operator Awards recognise the best of the best across the company and celebrate the hard work of Operators carried out over the last year across all its sites. The winners spanned across ten categories from best sales to pub of the year. All the winners celebrated alongside one another and with senior members of Stonegate Group including Ian Payne, MBE, Chairman of Stonegate Group and Frazer Grimbleby, Craft Union Operation Director.

The categories and winners included:

Most Outstanding Pub of the Year – Winner: Chris Hodge, The Rose & Crown Worthing

Best Community Pub Operator – Winner: Jonathan and Tanya Childs, The Garden House Norwich

Best Compliance Award – Winner: Jason Herringshaw, The Tiger Inn Cottingham

Best Events – Winner: Cherylynn and Kira Mallinson-Brown, The Pack Horse Leeds

Best Investment – Winner: Lee Lomas, The Beehive Inn Droylsden

Best Newcomer – Winner: Catherine Bulford, The Phoenix Rainham

Best Sports Performance – Winner: Claire Turner, The Moot Hall Arms Leeds

Demonstrating Craft Union Values – Winner: Carole Jones, The Wig & Pen Swansea

Best Sales – Winner: Annie McTaggart, The Central Hotel Middlesbrough

Best Profit Growth – Winner: Andrew Noon, The Black Bull Brigg

Nick Andrews, Managing Director of Stonegate Pub Partners, said: “Congratulations to all of our Operators who won awards at this year’s Operator Awards, you should be very proud of all of your efforts and hard work.”

Craft Union Pub Company celebrated seven years of trading earlier this year with the investment and reopening of its very first pub, The Market Tavern in Hanley. The estate now consists of over 480 sites across the UK. It has the philosophy of putting brilliant pubs back at the heart of local communities and works closely with the pub’s Operators to do this and maintain the role their pubs play in customers’ lives. Craft Union also launched a bespoke learning and development programme this year names Elevations, supporting its teams in becoming the best they can be and providing a great offering to their communities.

Nick continued: “Our Operators work so hard in making their pubs brilliant and doing all they can to be involved with their communities, it is great to see the Craft Union philosophy being displayed. We do our utmost to support all involved with Craft Union from running a successful local business to personal development. As our teams grow, we are excited to see all the amazing work that will be carried out at our pubs across the country.”



About Stonegate Group

Stonegate Group is the largest pub company in the UK.  Its portfolio is comprised of over 4,500 sites, split across the managed division and leased and tenanted businesses.

The managed pubs division, which employs over 16,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Popworld, Be At One and Venues. Traditional (unbranded) pubs are made up of: Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Pub & Dining, Social Pub & Kitchen and Craft Union.


  • Great British Pub Awards – Stonegate Group Pub Partners’ Pub of the Year, Best Pub to Watch Sport, Community Hero
  • BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year (Jemelle Bish), Best Apprenticeship Training Programme (ATOP)
  • Publican Awards – Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company)


  • Licensed Trade Charity Awards   raising awareness through fundraising
  • Great British Pub Awards – Stonegate Group Pub Partners’ Pub of the Year, Best Pub to Watch Sport
  • MCA Retailers’ Retailer Awards – The Hero Award (Suzanne Baker)


  • Great British Pub Awards – Feeding the Community, Community Mindfulness & Ei Publican Partnerships Pub of the Year
  • REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards – Best New Wellbeing Strategy (5000+ staff)
  • Publican Awards – Best Pub Employer (501+ employees)
  • Publican Awards – Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company)


  • BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year, Lee Woolley (2019); Best Managed Company for Training; Lifetime Achievement Award for Chairman, Ian Payne (2016)
  • CGA Insight Hero and Icon Awards (two awards): Icon Award   Ian Payne MBE, Business Leader, Simon Longbottom (2019)
  • UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards (two awards) – Icon Award (Ian Payne MBE), Best Marketing and Promotions Award (2019);  Best Service & Team (2018)
  • Great British Pub Awards – Best LGBTQ+ Pub (2019); Best LGBTQ+ and Best Sports Pub (2018); Best Pub Garden, Best Entertainment and Best Sports Pub (2017); Best Sports Pub (2016);
  • BII Scotland Awards   Best Operator for Training (2019)
  • Retailers’ Retailer of the Year (two awards): Lifetime Achievement Award, Ian Payne MBE;  Investor of the Year   TDR Capital (2019); Investor of the Year: TDR Capital (2017)
  • Menu Innovation & Development Awards (MIDAS) (two awards): Best Menu, Premium High Street Pub: Slug & Lettuce; Best Menu, Town & City Pub: Walkabout (2019);  Premium High Street Pub: Town Pub & Kitchen (2017); Best New Concept:  Missoula, Montana Bar & Grill (2014); City and Bar Dining: Slug and Lettuce (2013)
  • Publican Awards (five awards): Best Community Pub Operator, Best Pub Employer (501+ employees), Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites), Best Drinks Offer, Business Leader of the Year   Chief Executive, Simon Longbottom (2019); Best Late Night Operator (2018); Best Managed Pub Company; Best Late Night Operator, plus highly commended   Best Employer 501+ employees (2017);  Business Leader of the Year, Chairman Ian Payne (2014); Best Pub Employer 51+ sites (2013)
  • British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA)   Chairman’s Award (2018)
  • Licensed Trade Charity: Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award (2018)
  • APPBG PUBAID Corporate Charity Fundraiser Award (2018)
  • Scottish Training Federation: Best Large Employer  (2016)
  • HR Excellence Awards: Best Learning and Development Strategy (2016)
  • HR Distinction Awards: Innovation for Digital & Social Media (2016); People Development (2015); Innovative Use of Technology (2014)

Press release from Leisure PR.

For more information, please contact Georgia MAckey via