Charismatic couple John Azzopardi and Aaron Burns, the pair behind the Brooksteed Alehouse in Worthing, have been named Pub Personality of the Year at the national Imbibe awards.
John and Aaron, who took over the South Farm Road micropub in April 2017, were presented with their award at a ceremony in London last night.
Judge Jane Peyton, a drinks educator, beer and cider sommelier, said: “They’ve taken a spit-and-sawdust real ale place with an 80-20 male-female split and built it into a community centre with a 50-50 split.
“In doing so, Azzopardi and Burns have revitalised business for the whole area – not just for the street they’re on but for the whole town.”
John and Aaron said the Brooksteed was a great pub under Nick Little and Paula Little, who first launched it, and their continued success was in no small part down to the Littles’ hard work.
They added a pub was nothing without its patrons and dedicated the award to their customers.
Imbibe said the married couple had transformed the venue into an inclusive community hub and in doing so, had made an impact on the industry.
The magazine for uk on-trade drinks professionals said the couple’s dynamic personalities had created a welcoming atmosphere, drawing more people to Worthing.
When John and Aaron took over the Brooksteed, it was one of two micropubs in the town but now five more have opened.
They have added a second, outside toilet, which was opened by comedian and actor Kevin Bishop, and have since launched a pub choir, which boasts around 50 members.
John and Aaron were joint winners with Jonathon Swaine from Fuller’s. He has had 20 years’ experience in pubs and brewing, and judges felt he had helped the company achieve remarkable growth, finding ‘the sweet spot between consistency and individuality’.
Today, they are up for another award, alongside their partner Tom Flint, for the Bottle & Jug Dept, which is up for Newcomer of the Year in the Drinks Retailing Awards 2019. The bottle shop, diagonally opposite the Brooksteed, was opened in May last year.