Belfast Telegraph

Last orders as Pub of the Year judges select finalists

The search to find the heroes of Northern Ireland's licensed trade moves up a gear this week, as judging begins in Pubs of Ulster's Pub of the Year Awards 2013.

A selection of Northern Ireland business experts are charged with judging the first round of entries, with a view to deciding who should be celebrated as the toast of the trade.

The judges include 'mentalist' and hospitality expert, David Meade, drinks industry veterans Padraig Cribben and Maire Campbell, retail specialist Hugh Black and Sunday Life editor Martin Breen. Belfast Telegraph business journalist Margaret Canning will also join other scribes in the judging process.

The judging panel will now assess entries in eight categories –best barperson, best entertainment, best food, best new or improved, best marketing initiative, best charity initiative, best big idea – and the ultimate award, that of Pub of the Year 2013.

Mark Stewart, the chairman of Pubs of Ulster, said: "We are thrilled to welcome our team of industry and business experts on board as judges for this year's awards and I wish them luck as they embark on the unenviable task of deciding who should be named the best in the business – the standard is higher than ever before."

A final shortlist will be announced by the end of October, revealing the top five pubs in each of the eight categories. The winners of the eight award categories – including the overall Pub of the Year 2013 – will be revealed at the Pub of the Year Gala Awards hosted by Apprentice star, Jim Eastwood on November 13 at La Mon Hotel and Country Club.

Tickets to the Pubs of Ulster Gala Awards night cost £75 per person and can be booked by emailing Paula Kane on For more information on the Pub of the Year Awards 2013, visit

Belfast Telegraph