Formby pub targets top accolade

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The Freshfield's barman, Ben Gentles, hard at work. Pic © JMU Journalism.

The Freshfield’s barman, Ben Gentles, hard at work. Pic © JMU Journalism.

A Liverpool pub has finished as one of three runners up in the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Pub of the Year competition with one of its managers vowing to win outright next year.

Freshfield’s pub, based in Formby, topped last year’s success of reaching the top 16 and co-manager Simon Cox says that winning the competition would be “the dream”.

He told JMU Journalism: “We won’t give up until we win pub of the year.”

The CAMRA Pub of the Year competition compares over 50,000 pubs in the country on their real ales, atmosphere, community involvement, service and value for money.

Cox, who took the job as co-manager along with his friend, Steve Gregory, in March 2012 has seen the pub win nine awards since their appointment. He admitted he had some minor mixed feelings about the result but was delighted to be recognised once again.

He said: “No-one likes to lose but to get in the final four is still something we can be very proud of. It’s lovely to be recognised by a national organisation, it really is a great deal.”

The Salutation Inn, based in Gloucestershire, was the overall winner of Pub of the Year with Cox saying he plans to visit the establishment in the near future. He said: “I’m always looking for ideas on how we can improve.”

One initiative Freshfield’s is looking to introduce is a mobile app where customers order their food and drinks from their table and staff bring it to them. The idea is currently being trialled in London and Cox hopes it will help reduce the waiting time at the bar at peak times.

The Freshfield pub, Formby. Pic © JMU Journalism

The Freshfield pub, Formby. Pic © JMU Journalism

The multi-award winning pub is already looking ahead to next year’s competition and planning to work with more local breweries.

It hopes to increase on the current 14 cask ales and five craft beers and real cider it has on offer, having sourced over 300 different breweries in the past 12 months.

The pub’s annual beer festival, which has over 100 different real ales and ten different real ciders on offer, is also being finalised and will take place in the coming months.

Cox also expressed his gratitude towards his staff and customers, for their continued loyalty over the last year. He added: “Without them we couldn’t have done it.”

The Formby pub is also nominated for the BBC Countryfile Rural Pub of the Year, with the winner set to be announced on Tuesday, 3rd March.

About Dan Goulding, JMU Journalism