BII Licensee of the Year Award 2021

This year marks 40 years of the British Institute of Innkeeping helping inspire, develop and support businesses within the hospitality industry.

Celebrating with them, on the 23rd of November at next month’s Winter Event, will be the 6 finalists of 2021’s Licensee of the Year, as they take this opportunity to announce this year’s winner. Sponsored by Sky, the Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most prestigious and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK.

A full list of this year’s finalists and their fantastic pubs can be found here, on Useyourlocal’s “Discover more” section. But, for more information on the Licensee of the Year award, their sponsors and this year’s team of judges, please head over to the BII website.

The Finalists

  • Tom and James – The White Hart, Welwyn.

Dating back to 1681 as Welwyn’s main coaching inn, The White Hart now offers varied menus using quality ingredients, real ales, an extensive gin range, cocktails & an exciting wine list too.

  • Stephen and Rebecca – The Grey Mare, Belthorn.

One of the highest pubs in England, The Grey Mare is an award-winning traditional country pub, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views, exceptional food and some of the North West’s finest real ales.

  • Matt and Ellie – The White Lion, Wrightington.

Passionate about food and their immaculately kept Cask Marque accredited cellar, there is a little something for everyone at The White Lion.

  • Mick and Sarah – The Alexandra, Wimbledon.

The Alexandra is a community pub located in the heart of Wimbledon, delighting their customers with an exceptional range of premium wines, spirits, ales and British seasonal food.

  • Colum and Anne-Marie – The Greyhound Hotel, Carshalton.

Steeped in local heritage and with beautiful views over the Carshalton Ponds, The Greyhound Hotel is a friendly pub and hotel focusing on bringing its customers the best of British seasonal food.

Perfectly located a mile from the beach at Rock, The Pityme Inn is passionate about locally sourced produce and works closely with local suppliers to bring the best of Cornwall to your plate and glass.

A huge well done and congratulations to all 6 finalists for getting this far, and to all of those that entered, as the BII have said that this year’s entries have been of a particularly high standard, making the decision from their judging panel even more difficult.

Best of luck!

Pubs Powered by SmartDispense

Sponsored post by Heineken UK

There is nothing quite like a chilled pint in your favourite pub. But have you ever thought about how the beer gets to your glass?

A lot of us have probably never been in a pub cellar. When it comes to innovation, we haven’t seen any major changes in the hundreds of years that pubs have existed. SmartDispense™ leads the way in changing that and continues to evolve the way your favourite pub dispenses their beer and cider. Over 5,000 outlets have made the switch to SmartDispense since it became available for install in 2013. Not only are these businesses investing in their pub and your drinking experience, but they are making steps towards being more environmentally friendly.

How does it work?

A standard cellar set up means a line clean every week for your local pub. This is because yeast, a key component in beer, will grow when it combines with oxygen at ambient temperatures. This will ruin both your pint and the line it is kept in. To prevent this, hours are spent flushing through the dispense equipment to ensure you experience the best quality all year round. SmartDispense™ changes that. Gone is that lost time and weekly pints of water, beer and cider down the drain, as well as all that CO2 needed to chill and dispense them. Instead, thanks to this energy-efficient smart technology which works from the cellar to serve, we can prevent yeast growth and safely extend line clean intervals. This means less waste which is better for our planet, without compromising on the great taste of your favourite pint.

So, what’s the secret?

How can cleaning go from weekly to every 6 weeks, or even 12 weeks without compromising on quality? The answer comes down to simple science. A standard system can have lots of potential points where the beer can rise to room temperature. This can be down to lack of temperature control, old equipment and bare lines that are exposed rather than covered. Meanwhile SmartDispense™ uses cooling technology to control the temperature within the ‘python’, i.e., the line that feeds the beer from keg to tap. It completely encapsulates the product until the moment it hits the glass. By doing both these things the yeast cannot grow and multiply – similar to putting food in the fridge or freezer to prolong the shelf life and maintain taste and quality. You wouldn’t leave a pint of milk out on the side, right? Accompany this with following the best hygiene practices for nozzles (pouring your pint into glass), couplers (connecting kegs to the beer lines) and caring for glassware, means the time between line cleans can be extended. PLUS… The strict temperature control and excellent hygiene standards mean a refreshing, great quality pint at 3°C or less every time.

Quote from Stuart Briant, The SmartDispense ‘Smart’ Guy:

“Since the first version of SmartDispense was created in what was no more than a glorified cupboard, I’m pleased to say the technology has continued to evolve. Not only have we been able to improve the environmental savings for bars who invest in great quality beers and ciders, but it is now more accessible to any size venue.  The original version was too bulky & had to be disassembled just to get it into the cellar, with 4 men required to re-assemble and install it in position! Now the smallest technology is only the footprint of an A4 piece of paper, meaning more sustainable, great tasting beer and cider can be served almost anywhere!”

Times are changing, and we all need to make steps towards a greener living.

Try your nearest SmartDispense outlet for a top-quality pint and to support a less wasteful future. You can find your nearest one here: