THE Hop Inn has been crowned the 2014 Pub of The Year by the Campaign for Real Ale’s Swindon and North Wilts branch.

The Devizes Road pub, run by Jason and Karen Putt, will now battle against South West pubs in the regional round of the national competition later in the year.

Since opening, in October 2012, the bar has constantly rotated its drinks offering, serving around 800 different cask ales.

Jason, 59, who previously worked in the sales industry for 30 years, said of the award: “It is not something you expect and nobody was more surprised than me as it didn’t occur to me that we’d even be considered given that we are relatively new.

“We try to offer people different lagers, wines and spirits and don’t sell things which are just mass produced.

“Obviously, we’d like to do well but we’ve been in The Good Beer Guide and received this recognition, since opening, so we are delighted with the progress we’ve made.”

Jason said he believes the Hop Inn was recognised for the award because it is something different to some of Swindon’s other pubs.

He said: “We are tired of places that just offer more of the same old, same old, so we looked to have our own identity and it seems to have worked.

“We attract a good crowd and given we are quite a small pub it doesn’t take too much to get a good friendly atmosphere going.”

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