A "BRILLIANT" publican has been praised after his business was named Pub of the Year and won a prestigious trophy.

The Ox Row Inn was handed the Fuller Smith and Turner's coveted Griffin Trophy and the title 'Pub of the Year' in this year's competition.

This was open to all of Fuller's 183 managed pubs and hotels in addition to 193 tenanted inns. 13 pubs reached the finals which were judged by Fuller’s Chairman Michael Turner, Chief Executive Simon Emeny, and Marketing Director Sam Bourke.

Salisbury Journal: The award-winning Ox Row Inn.The award-winning Ox Row Inn. (Image: Spencer Mulholland)

The Ox Row Inn, managed by Emil Szoma, was described as a "fantastic example of modern innovation in a traditional setting".

"Delighted" to have won the award, Mr Szoma said: "Being a category winner in last year's competition, we had set our sights on being the overall winner – so I’m over the moon that we’ve achieved this.

Read more: ​Salisbury: Ox Row Inn has 'best month on record' in December

"My team and I are so proud of The Ox Row Inn, we’ve worked hard to deliver a fantastic experience to everyone who visits – all the while supporting our local community.”

Salisbury Journal: General manager Emil Szoma (left) accepted the Griffin Trophy from Fuller's chairman Michael Turner (centre) with David Nicoll, deputy manager (right).General manager Emil Szoma (left) accepted the Griffin Trophy from Fuller's chairman Michael Turner (centre) with David Nicoll, deputy manager (right). (Image: Fuller's)

The beautiful 16th-century pub boasts low ceilings, exposed wooden beams and an open fire. Despite the building's history, inside guests will find a selection of craft beers, fresh cask ales, seasonal dishes, premium spirits, innovative cocktails and a wide range of exciting events.

Last year, the pub won the category of 'best town/local pub' and Mr Szoma is no stranger to the Griffin Trophy as he undertook management training at the Old Customs House in Portsmouth when it won in 2017.

Fuller's chairman Michael Turner praised Mr Szoma's hard work and passion. He said: "Thanks to Emil’s hard work and passion, The Ox Row really is at the heart of its community.

"When we visited, the neighbouring market was thriving, and Emil and his team worked effortlessly to offer the highest level of hospitality to locals and visitors alike.

"Everyone was being looked after as if they were the only ones in the pub – accompanied by a fantastic range of food and drink in a beautiful setting.

“But Emil’s work goes much further than this. He is a brilliant publican who understands what his community needs – from putting on his own events at the pub to being on hand to support local events in Salisbury."