Ei Group, the UK’s largest pub company, has today (23 May) revealed the shortlisted pubs that have made it to the finals of its annual Ei Group Awards for Excellence.

The awards celebrate the very best operators from across the Ei Group business whose pubs sit at the heart of their communities and which demonstrate both operational excellence and outstanding retail standards.

Three finalist pubs have been identified across multiple categories following an in-depth judging day with a number of industry experts and senior figures. Each finalist will be invited to attend a gala awards ceremony, to be held at the Old Thorns Hotel in Hampshire on 2 July.

Paul Harbottle, Group Commercial Director at Ei Group, said: “Every year we are completely taken aback by the amazing contribution our publicans make to their local communities as they prove again and again that pubs play a fundamental role in the lives of so many people across the UK. These awards are a wonderful opportunity to shine a light on some of that passion and energy that our publicans put into running their businesses and reward them for their efforts. We can’t wait to celebrate with all our shortlisted publicans at the awards night, and to reveal the overall winners.”

Pub industry expert Phil Dixon, will now be scrutinising the finalists through a series of site visits and publican interviews, to determine the overall winner across nine out of 12 core categories, including Best Community Hub, Best Sports Venue, Best Multiple Operator and Best Newcomer.

Additional categories are undergoing a separate, rigorous judging process, with shortlisted pubs in the Best Food category being judged by Ei Group’s Food Consultant, Austin Flanagan. Beer quality experts from Wadworth Brewery are assessing shortlisted pubs for the Excellence in Cellar Standards award.

There will also be further awards recognising the most outstanding pubs from across Craft Union Pub Company and Bermondsey Pubs, which are part of Ei Group’s Managed Operations business. The coveted Lifetime Achievement Award winner will also be announced on the evening.

From each category winner, one pub will then be crowned Ei Group Pub of the Year. Last year’s winner was Adrian Emmett from The Lion, Treorchy.

Publicans were able to enter the awards via the dedicated website or were nominated by their Regional Manager.