Residents who took over the New Inn when it came on the market three years ago are celebrating success after beating off competition from 2,700 pubs around the UK to be named best pub for wine in national awards run by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars.
Keen to preserve their beloved local, Chris and Murray Booker gave up their jobs in teaching and finance to take over The New Inn in 2016.
The couple have put a focus on offering produce from Sussex farms and suppliers, and their exceptional range of English wines and use of local vineyards, such as Albourne Estate, helped them scoop the prestigious award.
The New Inn was judged on stringent criteria ranging from the taste, smell and temperature of its wine to the composition of its wine menu and staff knowledge and came out on top in all categories. As well as being singled out for its selection of English wines, the judges specially commended the pub for its hand-picked wine list and unusual wines, its vegan and gluten free varieties and its wine and food tasting evenings, including its popular Taste of Sussex nights.
The Bookers received their award at a glittering ceremony at The Belfry resort in Sutton Coldfield from comedian Ed Byrne. The prize was a double celebration for Chris and Murray who are also marking their 30th wedding anniversary this year.
Chris said: “We’re delighted! When we took over The New Inn our only experience of pubs was as customers, so we’ve just tried to give people what we’d like to find. We’ve learnt a lot and loved every minute of it, but it has been hard work and it’s fantastic to have this recognition. We couldn’t have done it without our staff, the support of the village’s residents and the help of local suppliers.”
Comments Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director: “This is a remarkable achievement for newcomers to the pub trade and well deserved.
The New Inn is a treat for anyone who enjoys a great traditional village pub, superb wine and excellent food. And Chris and Murray don’t just care for their wine, they pull a good pint too.”