The Rose & Crown at Snettisham, Norfolk, has been named Pub of the Year amid a flourishing pub scene, according to the Good Pub Guide 2015, released this week.
The guide said that 2014 heralded a new boom period for pubs after several difficult years. It suggested that a new wave of exciting and energetic licensees were contributing to the industry's current success.
Co-editor Fiona Stapely told The Caterer: "It's been a really tough recession, but the publicans seem to be much more optimistic about their future. It's still a big struggle for a lot of people, but things are picking up."
However, pubs must keep evolving, she added. "Pubs need to talk with their customers, and have the right product at the right price, whatever that might be. You've got to decide how you want to run your pub, and stick to it."
Stapely stressed that "offering really good food is paramount" for pubs to thrive, but that this could mean anything from a home-baked ham roll and crisps for local walkers at lunchtime, to a more high-end restaurant for destination diners.
She added: "That's what's so great about pubs in this country - they are so diverse. There is always something for everyone."
The Rose & Crown at Snettisham was congratulated by Stapely and for its inclusive approach.
She said: "Certain pubs stand out over the year as places that are truly special, featuring again and again in readers' reports. The Rose & Crown at Snettisham prompted rave comments from readers, [such as]: 'a seamless and enjoyable experience', 'constantly impressed', and 'unquestionably good'.
- "It's a fantastic pub; always looking for what its customers want and need, from dog-walkers to families to couples, and locals too. It covers everything, with local bar snacks right up to very good food; a walled garden, open fires. It's what a pub should be."
Pub licensees Jeannette Goodrich, who has owned and operated the pub with 16 rooms, alongside her husband Anthony since 1994, said: "We're absolutely thrilled. It's great that it's a pub award, because even though we do good food and dining, we've very consciously tried to keep it a pub at heart. We also have friendly, local and polite staff. If you have a good product, people will come."
THE PRICE OF A PINT
The guide's national survey of England-wide beer prices this year found a 76p difference between the most expensive pint and the cheapest. The average price is now £3.31.How did your county fare?
Best bargain Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Derbyshire, Cumbria, Staffordshire, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, Yorkshire
Most expensive Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Scottish Islands, Kent, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Berkshire
Wales, Shropshire, Cornwall, Somerset, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire
Cheshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, Devon, Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Dorset, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Scotland, Hampshire, Norfolk
THE GOOD PUB GUIDE WINNERS
Pub of the Year
Rose and Crown, Snettisham, Norfolk
Dining Pub of the Year
Pipe and Glass, South Dalton, Yorkshire
New Pub of the Year
Church Inn, Mobberley, Cheshire
Own Brew Pub of the Year Church Inn, Uppermill, Lancashire
Beer Pub of the Year Nags Head, Malvern, Worcestershire
Whisky Pub of the Year
Sligachan Hotel, Sligachan, Isle of Skye
Wine Pub of the Year Woods, Dulverton, Somerset
Unspoilt Pub of the Year
Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
Town Pub of the Year
Old Harkers Arms, Chester, Cheshire
Country Pub of the Year
English Partridge, Bighton, Hampshire
Inn of the Year
New Inn, Cerne Abbas, Dorset
Value Pub of the Year
Ring O'Bells, Lathom, Lancashire
Licensees of the Year
The Mainey Family, Crown, Roecliffe, Yorkshire
Brewery of the Year Woodfordes Ltd, Norwich
Pub Group of the Year
Provenance Inns, Durham Ox, Crayke, York