Brewery boss scoops top award for ‘instrumental’ role during crisis

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Bury St Edmunds based brewer Greene King

Nick Mackenzie, who has been named business leader of the year by The Publican - Credit: Adam Smyth / Greene King

Greene King boss Nick Mackenzie admitted it had been a “crazy two years” at the helm as he was named top business leader.

The Bury St Edmunds-based pubs and brewery giant celebrated a hat-trick at the Publican Awards 2021.

It was named best community pub operator and best leased and tenanted pub company at the online event, while Mr Mackenzie picked up the business leader of the year title after navigating the firm through the coronavirus crisis.

He was “instrumental in impressively steering his business through choppy waters”, judges said.

“I never expect these things, of course I’m pleased but a massive shoutout to my team. They absolutely were great. Every single one of our employees were great and hopefully they will see the benefit of this award too,” he said.

“It has been a crazy two years since joining Greene King as CEO but I have absolutely loved it. Really enjoyed being back in the industry. I’ve learnt masses as a leader over the past 12 months and the industry as a whole has done an incredible job too amid the pandemic.”

The firm’s leased and tenanted pubs division Pub Partners — which looks after 1,000 independent publicans across the UK — was praised for looking after its tied pub tenants during the pandemic, which judges said was especially impressive “given the size and scale of the task”.

Most Read

Pub Partners managing director Wayne Shurvinton said: “The team and I are absolutely delighted. They’ve done a phenomenal job over the last 12 months and to win this award means a lot to us and it means a lot to our licensees as well.”

The company’s Local Pubs division runs more than 600 pubs across the UK.

Managing director Clair Preston-Beer said: “Our pubs are at the heart of their communities which makes it such an honour to be recognised in this way. This award belongs to all our pubs and the entire team who have worked so hard over the past year to have their local communities at the forefront of everything they do.”

Ed Bedington, editor of The Morning Advertiser, which organises the awards, said: “Many companies, having faced the challenges and disasters of 2020 could be forgiven for pulling down the shutters and sitting the crisis out. Our finalists tonight, and many others in the sector, did the exact opposite of that, rose to the challenge and did some amazing things.

“We wanted to continue with the awards this year to recognise those businesses that made sacrifices and strove to not just keep going, but to improve and thrive in the teeth of a brutal storm.”