The ambitious conversion of a Grade II Listed Victorian Mill into a mixed leisure and retail destination incorporating brewery, beer and food halls and hotel has scooped the Campaign for Real Ale’s prestigious award for Britain’s Best Pub Conversion.
The award was presented at a special reception at Holmes Mill where Professor Steven Parissien of CAMRA handed the award to James Warburton, chairman of James’ Places, who has masterminded the ambitious redevelopment scheme.
Original beams and joists, exposed brickwork and even the original mill wheel have all been preserved in an innovative venue that combines a Bavarian-scale beer hall with a brewery, restaurant, food hall and hotel.
Praising the scale and ambition of the Holmes Mill redevelopment, the judges were also impressed with the lengths to which James Places’ have gone to preserve the historic fabric and original machinery of the 19th Century Mill.
CAMRA judge Professor Steven Parissien said: “Our 2017 winners celebrate an enormously wide variety of building styles and contexts – from a modern new build to a historic high street landmark, from a textile mill conversion to a Victorian restoration.
“The sheer diversity of these winners, and their evident commercial success, shows just how vibrant a pub can be – and what an agent of regeneration it can provide – if treated with respect and sensitivity for both building and clientele.”
In its first year of trading, the beer hall sold more than half a million pints of real ale and craft beer and a trip to Holmes Mill has now become something of pilgrimage for real ale aficionados across the North.
With 32 hand-pull pumps on the 105ft long island bar – one of the longest in Britain – the beer hall showcases a minimum of 24 cask ales at any one time.
Accepting the award, James’ Places chairman James Warburton said: “I’d like to thank all the people who helped us build this amazing place and all the real ale fans throughout the Ribble Valley and wider northwest who have ensured its success by supporting it right from the start.”