The Salutation Inn, a rural freehouse in the small village of Ham, Gloucestershire, has today walked away with the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) National Pub of the Year Award – a feat made even more impressive given that this is the first pub the landlord has ever run.
Former business analyst Peter Tiley had never even pulled a pint when he decided to quit his job in London and follow his love of beer to take over The Salutation Inn with his wife Claire. Eleven months later the pub had won its local branch competition, then the whole region, finally making it through to the final four and today, being named overall National Pub of the Year.
“For the Sally to have won National Pub of the Year is beyond our wildest dreams – we’re totally shell-shocked. Pubs are so important to me that to have our own one recognised in this way is just amazing. We count ourselves so unbelievably lucky to have a brilliant team of staff who are so passionate and dedicated as well as a community of locals who have given so much to support and contribute towards the pub. It is these people that have made the pub what it is today and for that we are incredibly grateful.” Peter Tiley, landlord of The Salutation Inn.
Pubs are judged by CAMRA on a variety of criteria such as atmosphere, level of service, value for money and community focus, with extra weighting of course given to the quality of their real ale, cider and perry. The Salutation Inn, known by locals as ‘the sally’, was popular with judges due to its fantastic beer selection and welcoming, homely feel – with one judge saying “what struck me most was the welcome – as if I was being invited into a private house as a friend”.
CAMRA Director Abigail Newton says that being named the overall Pub of the Year is a massive achievement for any landlord,
“What Peter and Claire have done in the short time they have been running the pub is nothing short of staggering and goes to show that passion, enthusiasm, and a real love of beer are hugely important when running a pub. They have hit the ground running and taken what was already a great pub and made it truly exceptional – beating off over 50,000 other landlords from across the UK.”
For those thinking of visiting the pub, it is described in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2015 as a “rural gem in the Severn Valley, within walking distance of the Jenner Museum, Berkeley Castle and Deer Park. The enthusiastic landlord keeps an inspired selection of ales and eight real ciders and perries. The pub has two cosy bars with a log fire and a skittles alley. Live folk music and piano singalongs regularly occur. Shove-ha’penny and table skittles are played.”
The three other finalists are, in alphabetical order, The Freshfield in Formby (Merseyside), The Harewood Arms in Broadbottom (Greater Manchester) and The Windmill in Sevenoaks Weald (Kent).