The County wins POTY and The Sportsman wins CPOTY

The first stage of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)’s annual Pub of the Year (POTY) and Cider Pub of the Year (CPOTY) has concluded with the winners of the local Huddersfield awards revealed this week. The Huddersfield POTY goes to The County, which celebrates its first win. Huddersfield CPOTY goes to The Sportsman, and it’s the third year running for this award for them. Not only are these great achievements for the pubs in question, but it’s a double celebration as both are part of the Beerhouses group!

Both winners will now go through to the regional stage of the competition, which will ultimately lead to a national winner in each category.

Pub of the Year – The County

The County, managed by Amber Duffee has completely reinvented itself over the last 2 years, since we took it over as a Beerhouses pub. It offers a wide range of real and craft ales that rotates regularly as well as live music, pop up food events, and open mic nights. Close to Huddersfield Town Hall, The County often tailors its offer around shows that perform there and sponsors the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra. Amber trained under John at The Sportsman for many years before stepping up to manage the newly acquired pub 2 years ago, on 17th March 2022, so they have a lot to celebrate!

Amber said of the win:

“For us when we heard we won the Pub of the Year for Huddersfield it just felt like such a proud moment as it showed us, as staff, that all the events, beer choices and changes we’ve made have been noticed. You don’t always get a chance to step back to really judge whether people love what we’re doing, as they appear to, so to get an award shows that the effort has been worth it and CAMRA has recognised it.

Our main goal so far has been to get ourselves on the map as a new pub. We’ve just celebrated our second birthday on Sunday 17th March and although we’ve won Winter Pub of the Season 2022/2023 and now Pub of the Year we aren’t stopping as we want more! We’ve just installed a cider hand pull so jokingly we’ve told John to ‘watch out!’ as we’re going to try for Cider Pub of the Year next year.

We’re keen to build our knowledge and all staff are investing their own free time to create beers with breweries to expand our knowledge and strengthen friendships with these breweries so we can be even better at sharing our knowledge in what we sell. All the staff are super passionate in everything and go out their way to create the best experiences, the best events, the best food, and the best service so we’re just thankful to be noticed and appreciated!”

Anais Fisher (left) and Amber Duffee from the team at The County, enjoying the beer garden in the Huddersfield sunshine!

Cider & Perry Pub of the Year – The Sportsman

The Sportsman is a real heritage pub in Huddersfield. Built in 1930, as an “improved pub”, it was listed at Grade II in 2019. These types of pubs had several rooms, offering food and leisure activities to reduce the emphasis on alcohol consumption! (Source: Historic England). Manager John Fletcher has been banging the drum for ciders for a long time now. The Sportsman is well-known as a Huddersfield Town AFC pub, being close to the stadium, and many ale-trailers have ventured a few yards from the railway station to include it. It celebrates 15 years as a Beerhouses pub in April.

John said:

“It is a real honour to receive this award from Huddersfield CAMRA and we are proud to, once again, be recognised for championing real full-juice cider. Cider is a fundamental part of our traditional drinking heritage but in recent years new producers have brought a new way of thinking about cider. What is happening in the cider world is similar to what was going on with craft beer ten years ago and it is very exciting!

This is the third year in a row that we have been voted Huddersfield CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year, but we have not rested on our laurels. Indeed, we ran a very successful ‘Summer of Cider’ promotion, encouraging customers to try different ciders. We continue to seek out the UK’s best real ciders whilst supporting our local cider producers. Our cider menu always features cider from Huddersfield’s very own Udder’s Orchard and their cider maker, Dave Kendall-Smith, will be coming down to The Sportsman on Friday 19 April to host a cider tasting.”

Chairman of Huddersfield CAMRA, Paul Laxton (right), presenting the Cider Pub of the Year to John Fletcher, manager of The Sportsman.