altAs another year draws to a close and awards get handed out all over the shop for a variety of different and often pointless things, we look back on 2012 with our own proud ceremony.

The difference being that you don’t need to hire out an expensive frock or dress-up like a waiter (even though you might think you look like James Bond) to attend The Inapub Alternatives.

For the event is here, right here right now, and the award is simply the recognition itself. Who knows, next year we might even get round to handing out some tat in a pub function room somewhere, but for now I present the 2012 ‘winners’.

Quote of the Year
We have had some belters in Inapub magazine this year but perhaps the best interview of them all was with that witty bugger Danny Wallace (though Michelle Mone was very popular too…). Anyway, when asked if he thought computer games and social media had created a ‘stay-at-home’ culture that could do the pub trade harm he puffed out his chest and proudly replied:

“Nothing will do too much damage to pub culture. We are Britain!”

For that reason alone we suggest you buy Danny’s debut novel Charlotte Street. It’s really very good.

Pantomime Villain Award
Who is the most dastardly and deserving off this gong for doing harm to the pub trade? Tax dodgers such as Starbucks? Utility companies that constantly whack up their prices? Supermarkets for their continual undercutting and value deals? Uncompromising pubcos?

Nope, for us this year there is only one winner. This award goes to someone who likes to portray themselves as a friend to the trade, but when the trade gets the courage to talk about something that’s bothering us that friend sticks its fingers in its ears and shouts ‘la la la la la la la la la I can’t hear you’.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition against the beer duty escalator to secure a debate in Parliament which was supported by 100-plus MPs. The government’s response was very Brian Clough: ‘We’ve sat down and talked it over and agreed that I am right.” The collective effort of the trade was outstanding. The response of ministers? Not so much.

The Phoenix from the Flames Award
Rik Mayall was a contender for this for reprising his Bombardier character in a series of TV ads. In fact beer ads on TV were in with a shot themselves, with Greene King IPA also making a return to our screens. But real ale gets so much of the glory in the pub world (up front there with its impressive pumps and artwork) that we thought we would go for a star of the back bar that we believed would never see the light of day again.

The last time I saw Hooch was when a girlfriend at university regurgitated about five bottles of the stuff on my bed. That was a night to remember. In fairness it was her fault for not knowing her limits and not the alcopop itself.

After a lot of tut-tutting from the media and politicians in the general direction of this popular style of 1990s drinks, they largely did a Dodo. But unlike that old bird (not the one in my student halls, who somewhat unbelievably is now my wife) they have returned with a lower ABV and in a bigger bottle (which in fairness, would be tough for any extinct creature to do). So congratulations Hooch and brand owner Global Brands, we salute your return. We hope it is more successful than Ricky Hatton’s.

The People’s Champion Award
Just when you thought that Stephen Fry (has he been knighted yet?) couldn’t snuggle up any tighter to the warm and welcoming bosom of the nation, he nuzzles in a little closer.

In pub world he has already been named by drinkers as the celeb they would most like to have a drink with (he’d probably be useful on the pub quiz team too) and now he has done his bit for the little man. When sharp-suited and fast-talking (we’re guessing here, but go with us) Hollywood bully-boy lawyers (please don’t sue us) got tough with a little pub in Southampton, Stephen Fry came to the rescue.

The lawyers were representing the interests of the studio behind The Hobbit films, and they wanted to ensure the pub of the same name (which incidentally has been around while some of those lawyers were in high chairs as opposed to the High Court) stopped trading off its title.

Fry, who stars in the film, along with Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen (highly commended in this category) stood up for the pub against the might of the studio and forced them to backtrack.

The pub is safe for now but the battle goes on…a bit like a lengthy film trilogy…hey, maybe there’s a script in this.

The What Was The Point In All That Award

Lawyers again I’m afraid. This one goes to the Karen Murphy v The Premier League case over showing foreign satellite football in her Portsmouth boozer.

After years, six at last count, of legal battle Murphy won the case. But then the Premier League claimed a victory of sorts too. And Sky. Basically Murphy won but you still can’t screen copyrighted material in your pub unless you have a Sky contract. Or you manage to find a way around it. Which is probably illegal.

Read the judgment yourself, it is brilliant for the complete lack of clarity it brings to the situation.
Still, probably best not show that foreign feed unless you want a big old fine. Or a court case that we all forget the point of by the time it’s concluded.

Lifetime Achievement Award

BII Licensee of the Year Mahdis Neghabian was a contender for this one. She has overcome the unfortunate barriers of being young, female and originally from another country to make a name for herself in this still all-too traditional trade to make a real mark on the industry.

But, brilliant as she is, she has been praised plenty this year and will no doubt win more accolades in the future.

Instead we want to highlight the work of who we believe to be the longest-serving barmaid in the country.

Dolly Saville is nearly 100 and has been working at The Red Lion in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, since 1939. Simply astonishing stuff and a wonderful example of the brilliant people that make pubs across the country the wonderful places they are. Our sincere congratulations.

And that is all for now, save for the after show party…anyone care to join me?

Matt Eley is the Inapub editor. Follow him on Twitter @mattheweley