Cambridge's Good Union named best pub in New Zealand
It's got a prime location, pours a beer like no other and has the award to prove it.
Cambridge's Good Union was named the best pub in the country at the Hospitality Association of New Zealand awards night in Queenstown on Thursday.
Its sister pub, Cook St Social in Hamilton East, won the award for Best Redeveloped Food and Beverage. Both are owned by Good George Brewing and general manager Race Louden said it's a big day for the Waikato company.
"It's huge for us," Louden said. "Both of these awards are not only about the physical environment, but about how we deal with customers, the food offering ... everything. It makes us feel like we're on the right track."
The company started its brewing business in 2011 at an old church in Frankton, Hamilton. Since then, it's expanded around the city, then to Cambridge, Tauranga and Rotorua. A love affair with churches saw it buy the Pink Church in Cambridge and, in 2016, convert it into a winner.
"That church was an icon before we got hold of it and I think we've just taken that responsible approach, taking its amazing bones and highlighting those. It's a real hub for Cambridge, a place where families can go at the same time as a couple trying to have a romantic dinner and a bunch of blokes having a few beers."
The award for Cook St Social comes after years of trying to get in the door.
"We're stoked about it," Louden said. "It's obviously got a well-publicised story about us trying to get into that outlet over a number of years and being blocked by Lion Breweries and picking it up last year and doing something really wicked with that building."
The future looks bright, Louden said. Bars will be opened at Whangamat? and Raglan before Christmas and two venues in Auckland are close to being announced.
"It gives us some real confidence around the brand and real confidence in how our team deal with our customers.
"We are pumped. We can't be everywhere around New Zealand, because we are not like the big breweries, so we've got to be quite picky about who we partner with and what areas and cities and towns we go into, but we really get embraced by the locals, which is awesome."