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10th November 2022

New General Manager joins the George Hotel – and George the ‘pub pup’ comes too

The new General Manager of a Kentish hotel felt so at home as soon as she arrived that she decided to name her new puppy after the site.

Victoria Ruffell, 37, who has just taken on Shepherd Neame’s George Hotel in Cranbrook, welcomed George the ‘pub pup’ within weeks of joining the team at the historic venue in the heart of the town.

Settling into a close-knit community brings Victoria full circle in her career, after she started in the hospitality industry at the age of 20, as Assistant Manager at the Bull Inn in Sonning-on-Thames.

Victoria, who completed her management training within two years, ran four pubs for the Fuller, Smith and Turner pub group before taking a break during lockdown when she worked in hotels, before moving back to the brewing industry, being welcomed into the Shepherd Neame fold last month.

Essex-born Victoria said: “I started out in a little village with a friendly feel similar to Cranbrook, and when I first visited the George Hotel, it was like when you buy a house and you know it is for you as soon as you walk in. Cranbrook had the same villagey feel about it, and I knew the hotel was for me. I feel like I fit.

“The George is an incredibly characterful venue with so much potential, but needed someone who was going to put a bit of ‘oomph’ into it. I want to do that – I get quite passionate about my sites! I have been in this trade for 23 years so I have run a wide variety of venues.

“I also wanted to feel loyalty to a brewery again and I am looking forward to getting to know all of the other Shepherd Neame pubs and hotels throughout Kent and the South East.”

Along with adopting puppy George, who will be a permanent fixture at the hotel, living on site with Victoria, she is enjoying immersing herself in community life, experiencing the recent Cranbrook Apple Fair, and is looking forward to experiencing Christmas in the town.

“I get quite excited about Christmas. I hear Cranbrook is very beautiful at that time of year.”

Victoria’s team of 12 front of house and kitchen team members, along with four chamber maids, has recently also been joined by Sallyann Carter as Deputy Manager, who was previously at Shepherd Neame’s Old Mill at Kennington near Ashford.

Victoria added: “I have been really impressed by my team, they are incredibly dedicated and committed to delivering the best customer service possible. I say to them, I want you to be proud to come to work, and I want to be proud of where I work.”

The George Hotel, which can trace its history back to 1300, fuses its rich period features – including two full suits of armour flanking the magnificent staircase – with fresh, modern décor and has 12 stylish en-suite rooms.

A popular dining destination, it serves a tempting, delicious menu of dishes using the freshest, locally-sourced produce wherever possible, sourced from a network of hand-picked farmers, fishermen and food producers throughout Kent and the South East.

Diners can choose from small plates and classics to Chef’s Specials such as Slow Cooked Honey Glazed Belly of Pork, served with bubble and squeak croquettes, heritage carrots, tenderstem broccoli and mustard sauce, and Rustic Fish Pie featuring Rye Bay day catch in a rich cream sauce, topped with parsley mash and roasted vegetables.

Situated in the heart of picturesque Cranbrook, The George is perfectly positioned to enjoy the outstanding local beauty of the surrounding Weald countryside, and is an ideal base from which to explore the numerous attractions the area has to offer, such as Sissinghurst Castle, Royal Tunbridge Wells, and the Cinque Ports town of Tenterden.

You can find The George Hotel in Stone Street, Cranbrook, TN17 3HE, telephone 01580 713348 or visit


About Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.

Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.

Press release from Shepherd Neame.

For further information please contact Communications Executive Angela Cole on 01795 542142 or email or visit