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The Shortland Hotel taps into top national beer award


The Shortland Hotel is the pride of Newcastle after prevailing at the prestigious Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence.

More than 650 VIPs and industry guests gathered at the famous Adelaide Oval recently for the annual ceremony, which was hosted by entertainer Tim Campbell.

In a coup for the region, The Shortland Hotel secured the Draught Beer Quality Award while Pokolbin’s Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort was deemed Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division.

The Shortland Hotel.

Publican Nick Clark was delighted to “toast their success” on the Australian stage.

“We’ve been trying for about five years,” he said.

“We have won the state award a couple of times, now we’ve finally claimed the national honours.

“We’re thrilled to be the owners of the best ‘draught beer quality’ title.

“It refers to your system, your equipment, your maintenance… everything that goes into the finished product, right down to how you pour it and how cold it is in the glass.

“It’s certainly something a lot of publicans would like to win.

“The average Joe on the street might not fully understand what it’s about.

“But, publicans certainly do.

“So, it’s something to boast about and advertise.

“Plus, it is nice recognition because you need to go through a very high-level of judging.

“The bosses of the two major breweries judge it themselves, it’s not like a secret shopper or anything like that.

“So, it’s proven to be quite difficult to win.”

Mr Clark admitted the triumph was a feather in The Shortland Hotel’s cap.

“Knowing how hard it is to win makes it even sweeter,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Like I said before, this is the fifth time we’ve entered, however we’ve only headed to the national awards once before.

“So, it made the trip [to South Australia] worthwhile.

“The Prince of Merewether took out a state award for its burgers, so there were only two Newcastle pubs who did well.

“That’s really unusual, too.

“Newcastle and the Hunter is generally very strong.

“In the past, this area’s taken out between five and 10 awards.

“In 2023, Newcastle just picked up two… I’m not sure about the rest of the Hunter.

“Even at the national awards, the pickings were slim for NSW overall.”

Buoyed by the victory, Mr Clark and his staff are readying themselves for an eventful Christmas/New Year period.

“Last week was our busiest on record at The Shortland,” he said.

“Although, this one’s been a bit quieter; I think a lot of people have already knocked off for the year.

“But, we’re expecting it to pick up again.

“I get the feeling people are staying home because times are tough at the moment.

“That’s good for us, so we’ll be ready.”

Mr Clark also gave Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon, who popped in to congratulate the hotel during the week, a couple of pointers.

“She did really well pouring a beer.

“I think she may have done it before,” he said with a laugh.

AHA national president David Canny stated the awards were terrific recognition for venues, which had won top gongs in their home states and territories.

“These finalists prove nothing compares to the atmosphere, the noise and the sheer joy of being out in a lively pub full of good people, good food and great drinks,” he said.

“But, our hotels are so much more.

“They are a part of our social fabric, a constant in a world of change and a real-world place for connection in increasingly online-focused and isolated communities.

“We all should be proud of that.”

2023 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) National Awards for Excellence

  • Excellence in Service – General Division: Simon Buchanan, Bentspoke Brewing, Canberra
  • Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Rob Weeden, The Fullerton Hotel, Sydney
  • NSW Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Katelyn Jones, Crown Hotels Melbourne
  • VIC Excellence in Service – Accommodation Division: Lynda Bailey, Mercure Belconnen Canberra
  • Front of House Employee of the Year – General Division: Declan Coffey, Hanky Panky Lounge, Darwin
  • Front of House Employee of the Year- Accommodation Division: Toby Lier, Pullman Melbourne on the Park
  • Chef of the Year – General Division: Fernando Sanchez, Opera Bar, Sydney
  • NSW Chef of the Year – Accommodation Division: Kelly Jackson, Crown Hotels Melbourne
  • Hotel Industry Rising Star – Accommodation Division: Dyan Suaco, The Langham Sydney
  • Hotel Industry Rising Star – General Division: Henry Wines, The Western Hotel, Ballarat
  • Outstanding Achievement in Training: The Langham Melbourne
  • Local Legend Award: Peter Appleby, The Grand Hotel Warrandyte
  • Outstanding Community Service & Achievement: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hobart
  • Excellence in Innovation, Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Practice: The Star Sydney, Pyrmont
  • Best Tourism Initiative: Tasmanian Wild Seafood Adventures
  • Best Bar Presentation & Service – Regional: Luna, Canberra
  • Best Bar Presentation & Service – Metropolitan: Cremorne Hotel, Unley
  • Draught Beer Quality Award: The Shortland Hotel, Newcastle
  • Best Gaming Venue – Metropolitan: Cross Keys Hotel, Cavan
  • Best Gaming Venue – Regional: Grovedale Hotel, Victoria
  • Best Redeveloped Hotel – General Division: Portarlington Grand Hotel
  • Best Redeveloped Hotel – Accommodation Division: InterContinental Sydney
  • Best Restaurant – Metropolitan: The Brompton, SA
  • Best Restaurant – Regional: Furneaux Restaurant, St Helens, TAS
  • Best Restaurant – Accommodation Mid-Range to Superior: The Wintergarden, Hydro Majestic Hotel Blue Mountains
  • Best Restaurant – Accommodation Deluxe: Altitude, Shangri-La Sydney
  • Best Traditional Pub Accommodation: Oscars Hotel & Café Bar, Ballarat
  • Best Deluxe Pub Accommodation: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
  • Best Meeting and Events Venue: Adelaide Oval
  • Best Sporting Entertainment Venue: Burleigh Town Hotel
  • Best Entertainment Venue: Governor Hindmarsh Hotel
  • Best Entertainment Venue: Sandstone Point Hotel
  • Hall of Fame Best Outdoor/Non Enclosed Facility: Victoria Park Hotel
  • Best Retail Liquor Outlet: Eatons Hill Hotel
  • Hall of Fame: The Farquhar Family, The Caxton Hotel
  • All Abilities Hotel – General Division: Duke of Brunswick Hotel, Adelaide
  • All Abilities Hotel – Accommodation Division: Crown Perth, Burswood
  • Best Family Dining: The Marsden Brewhouse
  • Best Wagering Venue: V Hotel, Virginia
  • Best Marketed Hotel – General Division: Cataract on Paterson, Launceston
  • Best Marketed Hotel – Accommodation Division: Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, Pokolbin
  • Best Bistro – Regional: Mountain View Hotel, Whitfield
  • Best Bistro – Metro: Harbord Hotel, Freshwater
  • Best Mid-Range Accommodation: DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne
  • Best Superior Accommodation: Mindil Beach Casino Resort, Darwin
  • Best Suite/Apartment Hotel: The Langham Gold Coast
  • Best Lifestyle/Resort Style Accommodation: RACV Cape Schanck Resort
  • Best Hotel Bar – Accommodation Division: Rooftop at QT Perth
  • Best Deluxe Accommodation: COMO The Treasury, Perth
  • Best Luxury Accommodation: Spicers Sangoma Retreat, Bowen Mountain
  • Best Hotel Group Operator: Comiskey Group, Queensland
  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Regional: Grovedale Hotel, Victoria
  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Metropolitan: Cremorne Hotel, SA
  • Overall Hotel of the Year – Accommodation Division: The Langham Gold Coast

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