Your chance to vote for Yorkshire’s favourite pub

INDUSTRY experts say Yorkshire’s pubs are in good health as the Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub 2013 competition gets under way.

Last year's favourite pub is crowned at the Great Yorkshire Show. ITV weatherman Jon Mitchell is pictured with Kevin Laing and Christine Cullen from the White Horse Farm at Rosedale Abbey, and Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire.

By combining a warm welcome, good food and an educated choice of beers, many Yorkshire pubs are thriving despite the challenging economy.

Welcome to Yorkshire, in partnership with the Yorkshire Post, is inviting people to champion those pubs going the extra mile in the Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub competition. Vote now

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Last year’s winner was White Horse Farm Inn, in Rosedale. Joint-owner Christine Cullen said: “Winning a competition of this size was amazing for us and a major honour.

“It’s had a real positive effect on business too, which is brilliant. It’s been great for promoting Yorkshire pubs on the whole which can only be a good thing.

“We’d definitely encourage people to get involved this year – we will be.”

With disposable incomes squeezed and price competition from supermarkets, those connected to the industry could be forgiven for being in no mood to celebrate. But key figures in the Yorkshire pub industry insist it is in very good health.

Michael Ibbotson runs four pubs in North Yorkshire under the Provenance Inns brand with a further two properties in the county currently being renovated.

He said: “We have some great pubs in Yorkshire and I think we probably have some of the best in the country.

“We have also got good breweries and some of the best produce, not just in the country but in the world.

“The pub industry is in good shape if you take it seriously, if you are professional and if you are welcoming.”

One of Mr Ibbotson’s pubs, the Durham Ox at Crayke, was a runner-up in last year’s competition.

“People haven’t got the opportunity to have a bad experience these days because money is too hard to earn. People, I think, tend to go to places where they are comfortable and know they are going to have a nice time.

“One of the things people can do is spend a lot of time looking for new customers when it makes more sense to look after the ones you already have,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Chris Ives, founder of the Ilkley Brewery. Launched in 2009, the business now supplies its beers to more than 150 pubs per week as well off licences and supermarkets.

He said: “In the sector we are in, which is handmade real ale from a micro-brewery, there are pubs opening up concentrating on niche beers rather than the mass produced bland beers.

“Pubs that have a great atmosphere, that look after their customers and offer a wide range of beers from across the county alongside the best examples from across the country, will do well.”

To vote for your favourite Yorkshire pub go here. You can also watch a video of last year’s winner and download a window poster.

The first round of votes will result in a top 30 list of pubs, which are set to be included in a Yorkshire Ale Trail, produced by Welcome to Yorkshire.

A panel of judges will then select 10 finalists from this shortlist and the public will have the chance to vote again for an overall winner.

The winning pub, plus runners up, will be announced at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are proud to say we have the best pubs right here in Yorkshire and we know there is a huge passion for them.

“That’s why we want everyone to have their say and tell us about the local they love. It just takes a few seconds – about the time it takes to pull a good pint.

“Your favourite pub might be at the core of the community, or pull a great local pint or does fantastic food. Whereever and whatever – let us know.

“This is a great way to help promote your local as pubs play a key role in tourism and this competition is a celebration of that.”