The Red Lion in High Street, Southwick has reached the final of the Fuller’s run Griffin Trophy Awards in the category of Best Country/Village Pub.
The Griffin Trophy Awards is a competition for pubs which Fullers manage, own or have tenancy contracts with. (Pictures by Love Your Pub)
There are five categories; Outstanding Achievement, Best City/London Pub, Best Hotel/Inn, Best Town/Local Pub, and Best Country/Village Pub.
This year, for the first time, the Red Lion has beaten 400 competitors to reach the final eight.
Owner Calvin Swan said: ‘To think what my family, staff and I have achieved here in a short period of time makes me so proud of my little village pub. A pub is made not only by its staff but its customers.’
When Calvin and his brother Daniel took over three years ago, they put in a lot of hard work to improve the pub, boost its reviews and turn it into ‘the hub of the local village’.
Daniel said the Red Lion’s success was down to the effort his brother had put in.
He said: ‘It is all down to Calvin and his attitude, working in the pub is his life, my brother is the village nan basically.’
Calvin, 38, and his wife Louise live above the Red Lion with their three children. He bought the pub with Daniel in 2018, when their father Gary had a stroke. Daniel said he wanted to give his father ‘the chance to retire in the comfort of a traditional hearty pub in a community-led village’.
The family-friendly pub has become a tourist attraction, visitors have come from as far as Scotland to taste the homemade pies and relax by the cosy wood fire.
Daniel, 41, said: ‘We are successful because of our staff, beautiful garden, heated pods and space for children to play outside.’
To be included in the competition pubs have to be nominated by their local area manager.
The brothers say they were ‘really surprised’ when they reached the final.
The Old Customs House in Gunwarf Quays is the only other local pub to get this far in the competition.
Daniel said: ‘Just to be nominated we are proud as hell, we are blown away by such a tremendous achievement.
‘I hope customers appreciate the staff. All staff are looked after and this has built a real togetherness.’
Judges visited the pub on Tuesday and the winners will be announced soon.
The winning pub will receive a £2,000 holiday, a staff party and an engraved plaque.
‘I hope there are exciting times ahead,’ said Daniel.