In executing a strategy of raising the pub profile with the Irish consumer and visiting tourists, the VFI and LVA are launching what will be the definitive national awards programme that will provide a credible and comprehensive assessment of the best in Irish pubs. The main objective of the Awards programme is to recognise and reward excellence and innovation across various categories, which includes the provision of music as an integral component of the pub offering.
The National Irish Pub Awards 2017 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 23rd June 2017. The eight 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 and Pub Personality of the Year. A series of seven regional events will be held to announce 56 regional winners across all categories.
The 56 regional winners will be showcased as the best in class in their area and all will win 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: “The VFI are delighted to have initiated and developed this Awards programme as the definitive national industry standard for Ireland. The pub has over the years been an integral part of Irish social culture; is a central component of our hospitality and tourism sectors as well as being a major contributor to growth in our regional economies, so these awards will be an important vehicle to showcase the diversity that is available in the modern Irish pub and recognise the creativity and innovation that is already there”.
Chair of LVA, Deirdre Devitt added: “By entering these awards, pubs in Dublin and throughout the country have a great opportunity to raise their business profile through regional and national media coverage. They will also receive a comprehensive management training package which will help them to grow and embed innovation into their business well into the future. The LVA are delighted to support this initiative which is so focussed on the progression of our industry”.
The Irish pub industry dates back to the 10th century when Sean’s Bar in Athlone was first established. Dublin’s oldest pub, the Brazen Head was opened in 1198. In the 19th century the temperance movement in Ireland forced publicans to diversify their business to compensate for decreasing spirit sales which led to combining the pub with grocery or hardware shops. This practice continued until the arrival of the supermarkets in the 1970s when the innovative spirit of the Irish publican took another leap forward by introducing pub food, music, watching sports and other entertainment.