Pub licensees Craig and Louise Sherrington and their staff are once again celebrating after their pub, ‘The General Burgoyne’, was awarded the ‘Lakeland Dining Excellence’ award at the ‘Cheshire Life Food and Drink’ awards 2013. The annual award celebration, which was held on Monday 28th October 2013 at The Hilton, Manchester, recognises outstanding contributions to food and drink from around the region.
The accolade continues what has already been a landmark year for the Ulverston based 17th century Robinsons’ pub; having already claimed the award for “Dining Pub of the Year” at the Cumbria Life Food and Drink awards in January 2013. The couple also confirmed that The General Burgoyne will feature – for the first time in the 2014 edition of the AA’s Good Pub Guide.
Chef Patron Craig Sherrington and his wife took on the ailing pub in July 2010 and, over the past 3 years, have transformed it into a destination eatery serving Britain’s best loved traditional home cooked dishes (with a twist), while still retaining the character and atmosphere of a local village watering hole. Craig and Louise have profitably achieved a rare balance between diners enjoying fine food in cosy comfortable surroundings alongside the regulars enjoying a well-deserved pint of family brewer Robinsons’ finest ale at the end of a hard day’s work.
The duo have already received national recognition having featured in The Good Food Guide for two consecutive years, being listed in Sawday’s Special Places and winning an award for their ingenious ‘peanuts and a pint’ dessert at Robinsons’ ‘have you got the bottle?’ chef’s challenge.
However amongst all their awards, the couple have always kept their feet firmly on the ground, “Whilst the accolades are more than welcome and it’s nice to get national recognition, it’s what we do locally that we are most proud of,” explains Craig. “We are a traditional community country pub, we just happen to serve great food.”
Accepting the award, sponsored by ‘Butlers Cheese’, Craig and Louise paid thanks to their long serving team and explained that they get the best response from showing their customers a glimpse of their real life. Joking, Craig explained that “my 3 year old daughter has an opinion in the kitchen already!” However, at its heart, the pair believes it’s their mentality and their staff that make the pub so successful. “Customers come to the pub to see the people who actually run it. We always make time to say hello, even if it’s running past during busy service!”
Keeping the British Pub at the heart of the community has been a challenge during harsh economic times. CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) findings have shown a year on year trend for the decline of the Great British Pub. An estimated 18 pubs are closing per week and 5,800 have closed since 2008; leaving just 58,000 British pubs remaining. Yet throughout the grim figures, Craig and Louise have flourished and demonstrated a real passion for the British Pub. The key, they think, is a lot of hard work and having an ongoing interaction within the community:
“We have no background in marketing whatsoever but over the past 12 months we have started to market ourselves completely differently,” said Louise. “Any pub not using Facebook or Twitter is really missing a trick. These tools are free and allow you to speak to your customers directly. I think that not using either of them is the equivalent of not having a sign outside your pub.”
Commenting on the couple’s continued success at the Robinsons pub based in Great Urswick, Steve Robinson (Robinsons’ Business Development Manager for the Cumbria region) said:
“What Craig and Louise have done since moving into The General Burgoyne is to become a central focal point of the village. They have a young family and a business to run but they don’t make it all about them... they proactively give back to the community and reward their customer’s loyalty through actively being involved with fundraising activities for the village throughout the year. Craig has stamped his own personal mark on the pub operation with an excellent menu and lots of special evenings centred around food and wine... really giving customers a reason to go to their local pub and spend money. They are an excellent couple, very focused and a joy to work with.”
2013 marks the fourth Christmas that the young family, now expecting a third child in March, have been at the helm of The General Burgoyne and it doesn’t seem like they are going to be slowing down any time soon. With several awards under their belt, Craig, Louise and their staff are looking forward to toasting their many successes of 2013 at The General Burgoyne; a superb reborn Lakes pub.
Why not join ‘The General Burgoyne’ for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day – It promises to be a cracker!
Give Craig and Louise a call on 01229 586394 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.