Tim Martin has been recognised for his services to hospitality and culture.
He said the news of the knighthood came as a surprise.
“It had never been expected, so it came out the blue,” he told the PA news agency.
“I always think that, in the pub world, it is a team effort – even if you’ve just got one pub there are many people involved.
“I think it’s the Wetherspoon colleagues and customers who are getting the award really, that’s the way I look at it. I’m just the lucky recipient.”
Sir Tim built up the pub group after buying his first venue in Muswell Hill, London, in 1979.
The Norwich-born businessman initially called it Martin’s Free House but changed it to JD Wetherspoon the following year.
The pub chain, which is well known for its low pricing, floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1992 and continued a rapid expansion across the UK.
The company currently runs 816 pubs across the country.
Published: by Radio NewsHub