The Irish Pub Awards 2018 were launched in Dublin today (26th April 2018). The launch, which took place in Lemon & Duke Public House in Dublin’s Duke Lane, is jointly presented by Vintners’ Federation Ireland (VFI) and Licenced Vintners Association (LVA).  Entries are open from today, judging will take place during the summer and the National Pub of the Year Award, including category awards, will be announced at a Gala Ceremony next November.

Front Row LtoR: Orla Crehan, strategy & insight, Molson Coors; Jim Cummins, national account director, Irish Distillers-Pernod Ricard; Padraig Cribben, CEO VFI; Pat Crotty, president, VFI; Padraic McGann, incoming president, VFI; John Cassidy, commercial director, Edward Dillon & Co., and Brendan Griffin, director of licensing, IMRO Back Row LtoR: Eamon De Burca, commercial sales manager, Diageo; Conor Dillon, divisional sales manager, Heineken; Niall Hayden, national partner manager, Bank of Ireland Payment Acceptance and Damien Smyth, sales manager Musgrave Foodservices

From over 500 entries last year, the inaugural Irish Pub Awards national programme recognised and rewarded excellence and innovation in range of pubs across various categories in the Irish pub industry. The overall prize, National Pub of the Year 2017 was won by The Porter House in Castlebridge, Co Wexford.

The National Irish Pub Awards 2018 are open to all members of VFI and LVA. Entry is free and those interested in entering should do so on the dedicated website: www.irishpubawards.ie. Closing date is June 01, 2018. The nine categories include: Best Food Pub; Best Tourist Pub; Innovative Pub of the Year, Best Local Pub; Outstanding Customer Service; Best Music Pub; Best Outdoor Space, Best Newcomer and Pub Personality of the Year. A series of seven regional events will be held to announce 63 regional winners across all categories.

The 63 regional winners will be showcased as the best in class in their region and all will receive a prize package of management training to help them progress their business further.  All regional winners will also avail of comprehensive media coverage including a profile piece in a special awards supplement, which will be published in the Irish Independent on the day of the Gala Awards Ceremony when national category winners and the Overall Pub of the Year will be announced next November.

Speaking at the launch, President of VFI, Pat Crotty said: “Following the fantastic success of our inaugural pub awards, the VFI is delighted to embark now on our 2018 programme. In collaborating with the LVA on this initiative we are raising the profile of the pub with the Irish consumer and visiting tourists on a national basis. The awards afford us a great opportunity to showcase the best of our pubs and we can confidently demonstrate how publicans have now upped their game and are really focused on quality, the customer, entertainment and on food. Bord Bia reports that 17pc of all food consumed outside the home is in pubs, which shows the progression of the industry in recent years”.

“At a time when we face the key challenge of Brexit to our sector, the Irish Pub Awards 2018 will be an important vehicle for us to secure prosperity for all the pubs of Ireland”, Mr Crotty added.

Chair of LVA, John Gleeson added: “The pub is an integral part of Irish social culture, at the heart of communities and a central part of our hospitality and tourism sectors. Therefore, an awards programme such as this is fitting, to reward the efforts of those contributing to the one of the biggest employment sectors in Ireland. The Irish drinks and hospitality sector currently supports 92,000 jobs in the Irish economy”.

“Now the definitive national industry standard, the Irish Pub Awards are quickly gaining recognition throughout the trade as a programme that provides a credible and comprehensive assessment of the best in Irish pubs. It is great opportunity for pubs in Dublin and throughout the county to raise the profile of their business through regional and national media coverage.  The comprehensive management training package that all regional winners receive will help them to grow and embed innovation into their business well into the future.  As technical and management training are vital components in improving performance and capacity within the pub sector, the LVA is delighted to support this initiative which is so focussed on the progression of our industry”.

Entering the Irish Pub Awards are a must for innovative VFI and LVA members focused on growth and innovation. www.irishpubawards.ie