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Heineken Gives the Great British Pub a £20M Boost

11 April 2017

  • Investment strategy to transform underperforming pubs and meet changing consumer demand
  • Good food, a pub garden and free wifi top pub goers’ wish list
  • Investment expected to create 780 new jobs in pubs in 2017 

HEINEKEN today announces that it will invest a further £20 million upgrading its Star Pubs & Bars estate across the UK in 2017, taking its total expenditure on pubs to c.£100m over the last five years.  The biggest winners will be rural and suburban pubs with around £10m earmarked to transform them into great local pubs, introducing food and coffee, for the whole community to enjoy.

With competition for leisure spend increasing and growth of coffee shops, pubs need to adapt to changing consumer demands.  Exclusive new research, carried out by Populus on behalf of HEINEKEN, showed that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of British adults visit their local pub once a week or more. But pubs that fail to keep pace with evolving consumer demands have struggled.

Today’s pub goers know what they’re looking for from their local:

  • Two thirds (62 percent) want their local to offer good food
  • A third (37 percent) look for a nice pub garden
  • A quarter (24 percent) would like free WiFi
  • A fifth (20%) want to have live sport on TV.

By investing in new kitchens, changing the layout to include comfortable outside space, areas for events and cosier spots, as well as offering free WiFi, HEINEKEN’s investment in its Star estate will continue to transform underperforming pubs into local hubs the whole community can enjoy.

The investment demonstrates HEINEKEN’s belief that pubs are an integral part of British culture and that high-quality, well invested pubs with skilled and motivated licensees will continue to prosper.  70% of the £20 million will be spent on transformational projects over £100k, while just under half of the investment will go towards transforming pubs in rural and suburban areas.  In addition, Star will spend nearly £3 million on maintenance and repairs this year.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars Managing Director, said: “vibrant pubs are an affordable, fun place where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together. But as consumer demands have changed, pubs that struggled to keep pace have closed. We believe pubs run by skilled operators and backed by transformational investment can thrive in their role at the heart of communities. 

“Two thirds of Star pubs are located in suburban or village locations.  Residents in these areas are looking for the same choice and quality of drinks, good food and entertainment on their doorsteps as they get in city centres.  Over the past five years we have invested c. £100 million in transforming our pubs in hundreds of communities across the country.  The continued investment creates pubs people want to use, benefitting local communities and creating local jobs.”

John Longden OBE, Pub is the Hub, commented: “pubs are increasingly being recognised as important social hubs for communities, driving local economies and supporting local employment.  Many communities are lacking investment so HEINEKEN’s ongoing commitment to revive and refurbish their pubs in order to deliver the services and activities communities need, is very good news for everyone.”

The White Horse in Headcorn, Kent, run by Richard Foy and Steven Manyweathers, re-opened in February 2017 after a £200k refurbishment.  Richard Foy commented: “Last year, this was a tired village pub serving mostly male customers, with a question mark over its future.  Our new kitchen means we now serve better quality food and attract a wider audience – around 40 per cent of our customers are now women.  The investment has not only transformed our pub into a local that serves the wider community, it’s also given the community a welcoming social hub, where anyone can come to meet others from the village.”

Graeme Beal, licensee of the Horse & Groom in LinbyNottingham, whose pub was transformed by a £180k investment in 2016 said: “We listened to what locals wanted and used the refurbishment to make it more appealing for the community. Before, the pub was divided into several small rooms, so we opened these up in order to create a more sociable environment. We have also seen a huge rise in the number of people eating at the pub since the renovation, with food sales more than doubling. Our pub now offers something for everyone, from a weekly quiz to local club meets, and is attracting customers from across the community as a result.” 

The Rose & Crown in HestonWest London, run by John Corbett and Natasha Gleeson, re-opened in February 2017 after a £210k refurbishment.  Natasha Gleeson commented, “People of all ages in our community were crying out for a more relaxed and welcoming local. Our new kitchen means we can serve breakfast, freshly baked cakes and we’re booked out every Sunday lunch. Our fresh bean coffee machine, mix of cosy corners and a new bar area means we’ve broadened our appeal, attracting mums in the day and older people for lunch, resulting in a 20 per cent uplift in drinks’ sales.