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15th August 2023

The Steel Keg Association Recognizes Stonegate Group With Inaugural Keg Champion Award

The global Steel Keg Association (SKA) has announced Stonegate Group as the inaugural recipient of the UK Keg Champion Award in the national pub/restaurant category! This recognition came on World Refill Day, a celebration of sustainability, and highlights Stonegate’s commitment to embracing reusable steel kegs and casks, providing not only environmental benefits but a fresh drinking experience most consumers can only enjoy away from home.

The Keg Champion Awards shine a light on sustainable practices and the positive impact reusable steel kegs have across the drinks industry. With their exceptional impact on sustainability, efficiency, and with an extended lifespan of over 30 years, stainless steel kegs remove billions of single-use containers from waste streams making them the number one choice for pubs, breweries, bars, and restaurants.

”We are very proud of the key role pubs play in British culture and communities, and serving a great pint of beer and cider is really important to our guests, operators and partners” said Melissa Wisdom, Stonegate Group’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We are honoured to accept this inaugural award. Choosing a draught beer or cider from reusable steel kegs is a refreshingly and simple way to do a little good.”

Dan Vorlage, Executive Director of the Steel Keg Association and VP of Global Marketing at MicroStar Logistics, stated, “We were blown away by the response to the first Keg Champion awards, with over 3,000 breweries, pubs, bars, and restaurants being nominated! We selected Stonegate Group as one of only 7 inaugural award recipients given their undisputed leadership position as the largest pub company in the UK and their focus on delivering fantastic, sustainable guest experiences including their broad selection of draught beers and ciders served from steel kegs.”

To commemorate the award, the Steel Keg Association presented Stonegate Group with the iconic Green Keg (physically the largest award in the history of the hospitality industry) and has made a £1,000 donation to their charity of choice, the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Stonegate Group, the largest pub company in the UK, is honoured to have won the Keg Champion Award for their outstanding commitment to draught products supplied in steel kegs and are proud of the impact this has on working towards a greener, more sustainable future.



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 over 16,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs, bars and venues. 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.

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.



  • 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)

About the Steel Keg Association

The Steel Keg Association is a marketing-focused non-profit organization on a mission to help increase the volume of beer and other beverages served from stainless steel kegs. The Association’s members represent a diverse collection of leaders in the global steel keg supply chain: BLEFA GmbH, Disptek Group, KegPros, Micro Matic, MicroStar Logistics, Schaefer Container Systems and Thielmann. To learn more or get involved, email or visit


Georgia Mackey

Leisure PR and Communications

m: 07738 600655


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