THE Jolly Farmers deli-pub & restaurant at Betchworth, near Reigate in Surrey was declared winner of the Best Diversification award at the Countryside Alliance’s Best Rural Retailer awards ceremony last week.
To add further to the accolade all the finalists were invited onto Alan Titchmarsh`s TV show on February 12 to be recognised Alan Titchmarsh National Treasures live on ITV.
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart announced the award winners at a House of Lords reception, which was attended by cross-party Parliamentarians.
All 46 regional winners from across Britain gathered to hear who had won a coveted national title.
The competition runs across four categories with a national winner and national commendation awarded in each.
Countryside Alliance South East regional director Michelle Nudds said: The Jolly Farmers is the most innovative diversified business in the country.
This is wonderful news for the South East, and a real shot in the arm for everyone who loves our local rural communities."
Owners Jon and Paula Briscoe took a chance by having the foresight to recognise the potential negative impact of the future smoking ban on the pub drinking trade when they opened in 2005.and the growing movement towards supporting local producers and suppliers.
Together they turned the drinking area of an old pub into a fully integrated delicatessen / farm shop which further complemented the local food by incorporating as much as possible on the restaurant menu - creating the UK’s first deli-pub & restaurant.
In addition, they support over 100 local producers & suppliers, which is great for the local community and great for the local economy.
Paula and Jon said: "We are delighted to be nationally recognised for our concept and commitment to supporting local foods and suppliers.
"It was made all the more special after having been nominated by a customer and being judged without knowledge, we really did have no idea until our names were announced."