Kirriemuir family pub in the final four for national prize

Dilys Ewart behind the bar at the Airlie Arms Hotel.
Dilys Ewart behind the bar at the Airlie Arms Hotel.

The Airlie Arms Hotel and pub in Kirriemuir has been shortlisted for Scotland’s longest-running bar and pub awards.

The family-run hotel has reached the final four in the Tennent’s Quality Award in The Scottish Bar and Pub Awards.

Publican Dilys Ewart, sister Nicola Ewart and Dilys’s husband Greig managed to transform a derelict building into a 35-seater restaurant and function hall for 100, complete with 10 en suite rooms to accommodate customers.

Dilys, who worked in Thailand, Switzerland and France, and was new to the bar business when she started the project, said: “We are very excited to be in the final four for this award. We bought a derelict building 20 months ago and spent several months renovating until May 24 last year. We have a public bar to serve meals in, restaurant and function hall as well as 10 rooms to accommodate guests. I’m a firm believer in if you are going to do something, do it right.

“Beer quality is really important, keeps wastage down and if a pint is a fantastic pint people return. We take pride in all our drinks all round.

“We’ve put a lot of our staff on Tennent’s Training Academy cellar management course and even look at how we touch the glass and how carefully we wash it. It makes them understand how important it is. Our staff have also been barista trained by a coffee world champion.”

Judges from DRAM Magazine, who host the awards, and sponsors Tennent’s are looking for a pub that shows a commitment to quality - including excellent customer service and great beer.

DRAM Magazine instigated the first licensed trade awards 21 years ago, and today the entry has never been stronger.

Some of the biggest names in the drinks industry – including the BII, Caledonian Brewery, Diageo Disaronno, Gordon & Macphail, Inverarity Morton, Isle of Arran Distillers, Kopparberg, Maxxium / Mixxit, Molson Coors and Tennents, as well as Glencairn Crystal, Bright Signals, Flow Training and the Sunday Mail – back the awards.

This year’s awards have a Brazilian theme to celebrate Rio hosting the Olympic Games. The awards will be held on Tuesday, August 16, in the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow.