ASHBOURNE’S Smith’s Tavern has once again been hailed Pub of the Year by a panel of experts.
Votes were cast by members of the Ashbourne and District sub-branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and compiled following a meeting last week to single out an overall winner.
During a judging period members of the sub-branch, which meets every month in and around the town, submitted scores and reports of their experience in establishments in and around Ashbourne, which were totted up to find an overall winner.
Criteria for the scoring was based on the quality and value of the beer, cider or perry on offer along with the atmosphere in the pub and its decor.
Points were also given for the service and the welcome received at the bar and the pub’s community focus and its sympathy toward’s CAMRA’s aims.
Another award will be presented this year, for the pub the branch members thought had improved most over the year.
This award will be handed to the Red Lion in Kniveton, which impressed judges for its efforts in attracting new customers and satisfying its existing customers.
Sub-branch chairman Mark Grist said: “the branch is delighted to announce that The Smith’s Tavern in Ashbourne has again been judged the overall winner.
“Although the Smith’s Tavern emerged as a clear winner with two-thirds of the votes cast, we are very happy to say that there were some excellent reports and scores amongst all the contenders which has confirmed that we have a number of really good pubs in our area.
“The Smith’s Tavern has strengthened its position as the leading real ale pub in the town, but we are happy to report that it appears to be pulling others along as well to achieve a wider choice in the town as a whole.
“The winner of the most improved pub is the Red Lion at Kniveton.
“The Red Lion has taken great strides this year with both its beer choice and quality and the activities it puts on, which make it a popular and proper village local.
“Arrangements will be made within a couple of weeks to present the winners with their certificates”.
The branch also announced at its recent meeting that it hopes to help make Ashbourne a renowned destination for beer-lovers, noting positive changes that have happened to, or are on the cards for, some of the pubs.
The Campaign for Real Ale is an independent national group set up to encourage sales of real ale, at the same time as supporting local pubs and the brewing industry.