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The Flower Pot, Maidstone, named pub of the year for Kent by CAMRA

By Ed McConnell

A Maidstone pub has been named the best in the county for the third time.

The Flower Pot, which had already been named west Kent’s best drinking spot, was announced as champion by the Campaign for Real Ale in the latest edition of its Good Beer Guide released today.

The Sandling Road free house – which was also named best in Kent in 2010 and 2011 – beat off stiff competition from the Lanes micropub in Dover to claim the title and is now officially one of the top 16 pubs in the country.

From left, Ellie Hayward, landlord David Davenport and bar manager Sharon Hayward. Last year the pub won five categories in the Worth a Butchers competition

From left, Ellie Hayward, landlord David Davenport and bar manager Sharon Hayward. Last year the pub won five categories in the Worth a Butchers competition

Described as a “must visit” when in the county town the pub serves up to 10 different real ales, a selection of ciders and perries and a range of traditional snacks and homemade pizzas.

Landlords David and Julie Davenport took the reins 11 years ago and soon gained a reputation for the quality and selection on offer.

A judging panel assessed the pub based on style, décor, furnishing and cleanliness; service, welcome and offering; community focus and atmosphere; alignment with CAMRA principles and overall impression.

Ian Clennett, chairman of the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Branch of CAMRA, said: “Picking up the Kent Pub of the Year title is further reward for the great job that David, Julie and the team have done.

"Real ale fans know that the Flower Pot is a great example of the best of what British pubs have to offer – a warm and welcoming atmosphere, excellent service and a fantastic range of beers - and the judges’ scores reflected this.”

Mr Davenport added: “We’re delighted that Kent CAMRA members have chosen us as Pub of the Year.

"We aim to offer a variety of Real Ales to suit all palates and tastes, and the award is a sign that our approach is popular with our regulars, CAMRA members and drinkers from further afield.”

The Flower Pot now advances to super-regional judging, with potential advancement to the final four pubs from which CAMRA’s national pub of the year will be chosen.

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