Off Canvas

Photo and article courtesy of Ashbourne News Telegragh / Gareth Butterfield

ASHBOURNE’S beer lovers have voted a café-bar which has only been open for eight months as their favourite venue in the town.

Members of the town’s branch of the Campaign for Real Ale have chosen Artisan to win not only the coveted Town Pub of the Year award but also the overall Pub of the Year Award.

The St John Street café-bar, which specialises in craft beer from casks, kegs and bottles and stocks about 50 gins, pipped the previous long-standing holder of the title, the Smith’s Tavern, to the post this year to take the top spot.

Artisan, owned and run by married couple Paul Duke and Rhiannon Fae, was chosen after clocking up the most votes from CAMRA members who were either local to the branch or visiting the town.
Mr Duke, who also runs a beer distribution company, says achieving the title in such a short space of time has been a “pleasant surprise.” 
He said: “We’re flattered and honoured and we’re grateful to everyone who voted for us.
“The reception we’ve had has been tremendous. We’ve not done any advertising, it’s all been word of mouth.
“People are always coming in, telling us they’ve been told to come in by a friend, or that this is what Ashbourne has always needed, so we’re really pleased.
“It’s been hard work but extremely enjoyable and we’re now looking forward to another year of growth.”
The pubs which won or were shortlisted for the award will now be given an entry in CAMRA’s 2018 Good Beer Guide.
In the town pub category, members picked Artisan as the winner, and the Smith’s Tavern and Coach and Horses – under its previous management – as the runners-up.

In the country pubs category, the Barley Mow, in Kirk Ireton, was picked as the winner, with the Old Dog, in Thorpe, and the Red Lion, in Hognaston, sharing runners-up places.

The branch’s chairman, Mark Grist, said the results were close this year.
He said: “Our competition was judged using a scoring system devised by the national CAMRA organisation and the result was arrived at by an average score produced by the results of each judge’s rating and the result in each category was exceptionally close.
“The winner of the country pub title was the Barley Mow at Kirk Ireton, just pipping last year’s overall winner, The Old Dog at Thorpe, and the town winner was Artisan, again just edging out Smith’s Tavern by a very small margin.
“The highest average score across both categories then secured the overall title, so we are delighted to award the overall Pub of the Year 2017 to Artisan café-bar.
“As we have already said, the beer scene in Ashbourne has been advanced massively by the choice and range of ales Paul and Rhiannon have brought to the town and the great ambiance, welcome and service they have offered through their excellent staff and we congratulate them on making such a big impression in such a short time.”

Mr Duke says there are plans in place to continue the award-winning work at Artisan, including a new food menu, an expansion of the current entertainment diary and a breakfast menu arriving soon.

Town Pub of the Year - Artisan
Country Pub of the Year - The Barley Mow, Kirk Ireton
Overall Pub of the Year - Artisan 

Congratulations to the winners - certificates will be raised and presentation evenings will be arranged as soon as possible.

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