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Winter 2019Flyer celebrates double CAMRA success

The Flying Horse Hotel has once again galloped to glory, being named the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Greater Manchester Pub of the Year for the second year running.

Lined up this year against eight other exceptional pubs in Greater Manchester, an expert team of volunteer judges visited unannounced and evaluated the qualities of each. The businesses were scored on a variety of weighted features including quality of welcome, value for money, community focus and – most importantly – the quality of beers and ciders.

Trade at ‘The Flyer’, as locals call it, began in 1691 and it now serves a unique selection of food and beer to the locals of Rochdale and beyond.

It is presently named amongst the top 16 pubs in the UK.

This journey of success began in 2011 when landlords Benjamin Boothman and Craig Richardson took the reins of the town centre business.

Ben himself has been a local to The Flying Horse since he first visited the pub in 1988, before officially starting work there in 1997 and becoming manager in 2000. Leaving for four years to learn more about the trade he was passionate about, Ben returned in 2007 and subsequently bought the business with partner Craig.

Ben could see the potential to transform the Edwardian stone-built premises into a destination for drinkers, diners and overnight visitors, as well as having an ambition to become the town’s premier free live music establishment with a long-term commitment to providing the very best real ales underscoring his efforts.

The Flying Horse is a supporter of town centre initiatives including the Rochdale Ale Trail, Rochdale Food and Drink Festival and the Feel Good Festival, and has been recognised locally by the Rochdale, Oldham & Bury branch of CAMRA as its Pub of the Year for the last four years.

In the Good Beer Guide since 2002, The Flyer was most recently shortlisted as a finalist for Best Craft Pub at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards 2019; the ever-growing success saw a doubling in size of its real ales to twelve handpumps, with traditional ciders, craft keg and a selection of foreign beers, making it a drinkers’ delight.

The business has also scooped gold for the past three years with its floral displays, representing Rochdale in the ‘small accommodation’ category of North West in Bloom, and was presented with a Mayor’s Recognition Award in 2018 for services to the town.

A finalist for Rochdale Business Person of the Year this year, Ben hopes to build on his achievements with his involvement in some of the larger family-run group of pubs and restaurants including The Baum, Littleborough’s Hare on the Hill, and, most recently, the takeover of The Crown & Shuttle pub in Firgrove, which re-opened in October.

Bombay Brew – an Indian Street Food and Cask Ale Emporium – is also set to open soon in the old Wellington building on Drake Street, under the operation of Ben and his team.