Perfect Pint Puller 2008
The search for the Perfect Pint Puller has found the winner for 2008. Solihull and District CAMRA were delighted with the huge number of replies we received, by post and via our website, nominating your favourite bar staff. Both ladies and gents were nominated which resulted in a clear short-list of 5 favourites. We can't print some of the replies, but thanks for taking the trouble! We then assembled a team of judges to act as mystery customers and visit the pubs where the nominees work (a different driver each night).
We visited all the pubs, and can certainly agree with the nominations - the bar staff really do deserve the recognition. Organising this was easier said than done, as it also seems to be the time of year when bar staff take a lot of holidays, so are they skiers or in search of summer sun? In fact the results of the judging were so close we had to visit the pubs a second time, tough but this is a labour of love for the judges.
All the pubs passed the good-beer-served-with-a-smile test, and we were pleased to get recommendations from the nominees for beers to try - they clearly care about the drinks they serve. We were ready to accept nominations for staff where real ale is not available - for this exercise we were searching for the best bar staff, not the best beer - but were pleasantly surprised to find that ALL of them serve real ale, and in good condition too. Does this tell us something about the nature of good beer and good pubs?
It is also worth noting that a common thread was the banter - people don't just go to the pub for a pint - but a chat too and it was obvious that regulars are greeted as old friends. It was a recurring theme in the nominations too.
So a tough call, but in the end Sophie Clark, who can be found at the White Lion in Hampton in Arden, was chosen as the CAMRA and Solihull Times PPP winner for 2008. The landlord gave her the night off to celebrate and provided snacks for everyone who had turned out for the presentation. Sophie was truly delighted and grateful to all her "old boys" who she has come to know over the 13 years she has worked there. We presented the certificate and cheque for £50, which she said she would use for dinner with a friend.
We look forward to doing it all again next year.
Congratulations also go to the for the four who were shortlisted for the award. It was a close-run thing, and all were a credit to their pubs.
- Lou Ford at the Vaults, Knowle
- Liz Robinson at the Bull's Head, Barston
- Rebecca Perry at the Hobs Meadow, Hobs Moat
- Sarah Worral at the Vaults, Knowle