Pictured were Pat Crotty, President VFI, Minister Brendan Griffin T.D., John O’Callaghan, Trade Marketing Manager , Heineken, John Gleeson, Chairman LV
A Portlaoise pub has excelled in the inaugural The Irish Pub Awards which recognise the best in class nationally in the hospitality sector.
The Bog Road on Portlaoise's Mountmellick Road won the Award for Outstanding Customer Service Category in the Pub Awards at the Gala Ceremony in the RDS Concert Hall.
The pub and other winners were selected from over 500 applications in this joint national awards programme which is presented by the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).
The award citation said that the Bog Road stands out in terms of customer service. Its loyalty card system which has been made available to its clientele since it opened after a massive refurbishment last March, came in for special praise. There are 10,000 cards in circulation between The Bog Road and its sister premises O'Gorman's in Kilminchy.
Many of the 20 staff at The Bog Road are from the local area which means they know a lot of the customers personally, notes General Manager, Kathy Goode who accepted the award with Donal O'Gorman.
“The staff know what many people want before they order it. Staff training is a big part of what we do,” she said.
The customer base in The Bog Road varies from people who want to come in for an early pint while watching the racing, to families, large parties and business people.
“We look after our elderly people as best we can, from delivering hot food directly to their door to saving their favourite table for them on the days they regularly come into us,” says Kathy.
Pat Crotty, VFI President praised the winners at the awards which took place on Wednesday, November 8.
"We are delighted that tonight, as an industry we have been able to showcase the best that our Irish Pubs have to offer in terms of creativity, innovation and excellence.
"The pub offering has changed dramatically in the past decade. Publicans have responded to changing consumer demands and we have seen tonight what our pubs are now offering in terms of excellent casual dining, contemporary beers and spirits, tourist attractions and overall entertainment to suit all types of customer,” he said.
LVA Chairman John Gleeson presented the awards. “We are very pleased with the success of our first awards programme. These awards will now be recognised as the definitive awards programme within the industry as it is set up to reward all pub sectors right throughout the country. There is great value for pubs entering the awards in terms of excellent national and local media coverage along with the in-depth management training our 56 regional winners receive. We are delighted to have come together with the VFI on this great initiative," he said.
The Irish Pub Awards eight category winners are:
Innovative Pub of the Year The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare
Best Music Pub Matt The Millers, Kilkenny City
Best Outdoor Space The Terrace at Dinn Rí, Co. Carlow
Outstanding Customer Service The Bog Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois
Best Tourist Pub The Stag's Head, Dublin
Pub Personality of the Year Johnny Quilty - The Goat Bar & Grill, Clonskeagh, Dublin
Best Local Pub & Overall winner The Porter House, Castlebridge, Co. Wexford
Best Food Pub Mickey Finn's, Redcross, Co. Wicklow