A BRIERLEY Hill couple have been named Midlands Publicans of the Year.

Mark and Diane Burton, management partners at The Birch Tree, are celebrating after winning at independent pub company Punch Pubs & Co’s regional Publican of the Year awards.

Held in recognition of the best-performing publicans from its 1,300-pub estate, the awards recognise the best pubs across the UK.

The couple beat a host of pubs in the area to be among nine regional finalists.

They then were subjected to a tough judging process, which included mystery visits in January and February to evaluate how well their business performs and delivers fantastic guest experiences.

The results were announced at a black-tie event at Punch Pubs & Co headquarters in Burton-on-Trent on March 21.

Diane said: “We were so happy to be nominated, and are absolutely over the moon to have won – it makes us so proud of our achievements and our pub.”

They will now go on to represent Punch in September at The Great British Pub Awards, an industry-wide awards ceremony, where they will compete against the five other regional winners in the hope of being named Punch Pubs & Co Publican of the Year.

The Birch Tree, which received significant investment in 2019, has gone from strength to strength with Mark and Diane at the helm.

The couple’s hard work has transformed the venue which has become renowned for its top quality food and atmosphere.

Sarah Edmunds, senior operations manager at Punch Pubs, said: “Mark and Diane run a very tight ship at The Birch Tree and have more than earned their exceptional reputation locally.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to recognise all the hard work they have put into their pub and team which never fails to deliver the finest in Great British Pub hospitality.”