Heineken to invest £38m in local pubs

31 August 2021 by
Heineken to invest £38m in local pubs

Heineken is to invest £38m in its Star Pubs and Bars estate this year to cater to a growing number of people working at home.

The programme will impact 700 of the group's 2,500 UK pubs, with nearly 80 venues set to be completely transformed.

With more people expected to work remotely, Heineken is investing in its suburban and high street locations within a 10-minute walk from residential areas. The overhauls will focus on improving beer gardens and making pubs more comfortable inside. Heineken also said it will improve the quality of food, which typically accounts for 30% of sales, as well its coffee, spirits, wines, lagers and ciders.

Refurbishments are expected to cost between £125,000 and £400,000 each, with every design tailored to the individual pub and its local community.

"Many people have rediscovered the joy of their neighbourhood pub between lockdowns over the last year, and are opting to stay local," said Lawson Mountstevens, managing director at Star Pubs and Bars.

"This investment responds to that demand, giving communities quality pubs on their doorsteps. We've spent £62m on rent cuts to keep our pubs afloat during the pandemic. The pandemic has shown the resilience of the great British pub and especially the leased and tenanted model.

"We're committed to building on that support with refurbishments, so that pubs around the country thrive for the long term."

The 17th-century Ye Olde Hobb Inn (pictured) in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, has already received a £165,000 refurbishment. This included doubling the pub's capacity with a 60-seat beer garden and installing a new kitchen to allow 80% more meals to be served.

The pub opened in February last year but, due to lockdowns and the restrictions in the north-west, was only able to open for five months in 2020 and four months this year.

Licensee Sarah Locke said: "People love the new look, and it's bringing in all ages. Local residents who hadn't been in for years, if ever, are now regulars, plus we're attracting a lot more drive-by customers.

"We saw the impact of the refurbishment immediately. Sales trebled overnight when we reopened and have stayed at that level despite a lot of local competition, Covid restrictions and the overall impact of the pandemic, which we really felt in this area."

Heineken previously spent £50m refurbishing 150 pubs in 2019.

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