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On Monday 8th January, Castle Rock closed all managed pubs for a company-wide staff day. Think belated Christmas party, NY celebration, awards ceremony and mini funfair, chucked together and bursting forth from a confetti machine

Thanks to the efforts of an amazing team, Castle Rock’s cold store was decked out with a “help yourself” bar, a DJ booth and dance floor, a stage, giant inflatable twister, and a ‘suggestions board’ for staff to air their concerns or share their ideas.

Managing director Colin Wilde thanked the crowd of 250+ for their hard work, and an awards ceremony followed, presented by operations director Vicki Saxby. ‘Employee of the Year’ awards were presented to a staff member from each pub and/or department, voted for by their peers. Our biggest congratulations to each and every one of you. Take a look below to see who won what!

MD’s Merits were awarded to Helen Tidy, who has been working at Castle Rock’s head office for seventeen years, and Stratford Haven manager Tom Eccles. Tom also took home the ‘Chris Holmes Award’ for manager of the year, as voted by his fellow pub managers. His double whammy came just two days after the birth of his first child, Rauiri, so it’s reasonable to say the crowd went a tad wild in celebration.


The Chris Holmes Award
Tom Eccles

MD’s Merit
Helen Tidy, Head Office

MD’s Merit
Tom Eccles, Stratford Haven


Employee of the Year awards:

Martin Palmer

Head Office 
John McGuire

Bread & Bitter
Adam Hands

Maude Green-Barwell

Cricketers Rest
Giles Cooke

The Embankment
Kayleigh Palmer

Fox and Crown
Danni Neil

Fox & Grapes
Ben Lutzuver

Golden Eagle
Bethany Rendall

Horse and Plough
Michael Purchase

Kean’s Head
Darren Mafucci

Lincolnshire Poacher
Warren Lindsay

Poppy and Pint
Leah Chaplin

Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall
Connor March

Stratford Haven
Christian Newman

Swan in the Rushes
Edith Perry

Vat and Fiddle
Molly Green

Jessica Smith

New Employee of the Year
Charlotte Bakewell


Once any formalities were out the way, the party goers spilled into the brewery yard for a lunch of pulled pork cobs. Business Development Manager Sarah Halpin had even arranged a mini funfair, featuring inflatable basketball and Helter Sketler, giant buzz wire, archery and a candy floss stand. The afternoon flew by in a flurry of games, with archery proving appropriately popular for a Nottingham brewery and pub group. The poor blokes running the stall never escaped our over-excited, competitive swarms, so a special thanks to you both for your patience!

In preparation for the party, staff members had been split into five teams. Points for each team could be collected throughout the day for hitting the bullseye, correctly guessing types of hops and malt, and taking a go at a Castle Rock themed quiz. We can officially announce the results were as follows:


1st place: Silver (headed by Jon Edger – brewery operations manager)

2nd place (joint): Blue (headed by Colin Wilde – MD)

2nd place (joint): Pink (headed by Vicki Saxby – operations director)

3rd place: Orange (headed by Lewis Townsend – head of marketing)

4th place: White (headed by Geoff Newton – chairman)


(Props to our Geoff Newton, who led his team to some epic archery results but forgot to answer the quiz. What a sorry result!)

While the clean-up job the following morning was a long one, it was completely worth it. Thank you to our lovely customers for surviving a day without their Castle Rock local, and for all the messages of support and thanks.

Here is to 2018, may it be filled with even more shenanigans!



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