Skip to main content
22nd March 2024

Four Stonegate Pub Licensees Named as Quarter Finalists of the BII Licensee of the Year Award 2024

Four Stonegate Pub licensees have been named as Quarter Finalists of the BII ‘Licensee of the Year’ Award 2024. The esteemed leased and tenanted sites and their publicans are Paul Dexter of The Old Swan, Paul Senior & David Thornhill of The Goose, Michelle & Kevin Abbott of The Anchor Inn, and Steve Banks of The Woodman, Ruislip.

The Licensee of the Year Award (LOYA) is recognised in the hospitality industry as one of the most prestigious accolades for individuals or partnerships of licensees. This year, the award holds even greater prominence and has seen the highest calibre of applications to date. The award aims to acknowledge the incredible leadership and community impact of pub licensees across the UK and highlights the crucial role they play in their local areas.

Since its launch in January, the sought-after award has attracted entries from across the licensed trade, inviting licensees to showcase their businesses’ resilience, innovation, and community involvement. Partnering with Sky Business, the LOYA received over 300 nominations from colleagues, customers, and friends, reflecting the outstanding calibre of contenders who have made it down to the quarter finals.

After meticulous consideration, the LOYA quarter finalists have been narrowed down to 53 names, with four Stonegate licensees making the prestigious list. These licensees have demonstrated excellence throughout their applications, highlighting their commitment to excellent standards and community engagement.

Nick Andrews, MD of Craft Union and Pub Partners, said: “It’s great to see four of our publicans in the quarter finals of the BII’s Licensee of the Year Award. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication to providing exceptional service in our venues. Our publicans really do go above and beyond to offer guests an incredible experience, and we wish them the very best of luck in the next stages.”

The next phase of the selection will involve evaluation by HGEM, a renowned guest experience management company and partner of BII Licensee of the Year award. Mystery diners and drinkers will visit each quarter finalist, further assessing their pub experience. Once the winner is selected, they will be announced at the BII’s huge Summer Event, one of the largest and most sought-after hospitality events in the industry!

Each of the four Stonegate pub licensees nominated have shown outstanding commitment to their venues and uphold the very highest standards across the board and are each deserving of their place in the quarter finals. The winners of the LOYA will receive a year’s subscription to Sky Sports Commercial Pub and Club, one year of free membership with the BII, as well as additional prizes.

To follow the competition and keep up to date with the finals, please visit the BII website.



About Stonegate Group

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

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

To date, over 12,000 employees have engaged with the various training programmes Stonegate Group offer, with over 600 Deputy Managers across the estate having been promoted to management roles.

The leased and tenanted estate, Stonegate Pub Partners, is made up of over 3,000 diverse sites whilst operator led Craft Union is currently made up of over 500 community pubs.

The business is multi award-winning for the training and development of its people and business success including:

BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year, multiple times; Best Apprenticeship Training Programme (ATOP). Best Managed Company for Training.

REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards – Best New Wellbeing Strategy (5000+ staff);

Publican Awards – Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) multiple times; Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company) multiple times; Best Managed Pub Company multiple times.

Great British Pub Awards – Best LGBTQ+ operator multiple times; Best Sports Pub multiple times; Best Pub Garden, Best Entertainment; Best pub to watch sport;  Community Mindfulness

Licensed Trade Charity Awards   raising awareness through fundraising

UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards Best Marketing and Promotions Award; Best Service & Team; Best late Night Operator

HR Excellence Awards: Best Learning and Development Strategy

HR Distinction Awards: Innovation for Digital & Social Media; People Development; Innovative Use of Technology

And awards for charity contribution including  Licensed Trade Charity: Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award; APPBG PUBAID Corporate Charity Fundraiser Award 

Contact: Hannah Leeland,

Third-party news items that are posted on the Guild website’s news section come from press releases received by the Guild. These press releases are posted as they have been received and their publication on the Guild website is intended as an informational service provided to our members and website visitors. As such, the publication of a story from a third-party source is neither an endorsement of the content, nor its sender, by the Guild. For enquiries on any news item, please use the contact details that can be found at the bottom of each post.