"If Inapub did an awards ceremony this is who we would celebrate"
It's that time of year when awards get handed out to the great and the good as well as to sports people generally lacking in much of a personality (Ronnie O'Sullivan gets my vote every year but he never gets a mention).
We don't have an awards event at Inapub, partly because there are enough of those around already but also because it would lead to tears when members of the team (OK, me) pathetically try to squeeze into a tux that used to fit before the desperately tough life of writing about booze and pubs started to take its toll.
However, if we did hand out the prizes the roll of honour would probably look something like this...
Launch of the Year
The White Swan, Whitchurch
This award is not for a new pub or a product that could revolutionise your sales. Nope, the launch of the year took place outside The White Swan when they sent a pint of Fuller's London Pride into outer space with the help of a very big balloon. The pint froze at the 24.3km mark, which is below the recommended serving temperature. Read more here
Toilet of the Year
The Horseshoes, Newmarket
Pub toilet awards seem to always go to Wetherspoons so here we recognise the efforts of a smaller company. Now, agreed, some of my more strident female colleagues in the pub industry might not fall for the charms of the bog refit at The Horseshoes, but hey it's in the gents so they shouldn't see it anyway and it is bound to bring a smile to many fellow's faces this Christmas.
Nailing Your Colours to the Mast Award
When Inapub visited Scotland ahead of the referendum many licensees were undecided about which way to vote on the matter of independence. Some even banned talk at the bar for fear of annoying other customers. Not so Vespbar in Glasgow, which became Yes Bar. Thus proving popular in a city that collectively said 'yes', however we are not sure this is a pub concept that will travel well down south.
Food pub of the Year
The Old Sergeant, Wandsworth, London
For this one we are not awarding quality (though we know the food is great) but instead good old-fashioned length. The Old Sergeant team were hard at it for an impressive 29 hours, barbecuing more meat than you would find on Bondi Beach on Boxing Day. It made the Guinness Book of Records, no less.
Celebrity Beer of the Year
This is a highly competitive category with brewers and celebrities constantly jumping on each other's bandwagons these days. This year we want to award Elbow for their second brew, Charge. Not only did they drink a fair few pints of what is a lovely drop with us in their local but they also gave us a load of good quotes too. Here's a snippet.
Inapub: Have you tried any of the other beers that celebs have made?
Guy Garvey: No, they're all shit. I have tried a couple, they're pretty good just not to my tastes. I think the Manic Street Preachers would do a particularly good ale. It would be spicy, earthy and Welsh.
You can read the full interview here.
Genius of the Year
Russell Fletcher, The Albion, Ampthill
Thankfully we are in December now which means that men growing ratty taches for the undeniably great cause of Movember have got the razors out. But not so Russell Fletcher, he went a little further by refusing to shave for an entire year. Essentially he raised pots of cash by doing nothing. He now looks like a cross between Father Christmas and your archetypal CAMRA member. The beard comes off in January by which time Russell will have raised £5k. Legend.
Sports Personality of the Year
Not heard of him? Well, potting balls better than anyone else is pretty damn impressive if you ask us but then so is knocking Yorkshire puddings off a 20ft plinth using nothing but a black pudding. That is what John Barratt did at the 175th Black Pudding Throwing Championships at The Oaks in Ramsbottom earlier this year. But does he get a nomination for the BBC's big one...