Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said that the money will be spread across 100 to 125 projects, with a particular focus on rural and suburban pubs.
Half of the £20m has been earmarked for transforming rural and suburban pubs into community hubs with a strong food and coffee offer.
Mountstevens said that the tenanted pubco was focusing much of its investment on transforming the offer of its rural pubs in order to keep those pubs central to the community.
“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,” Mountstevens said.
Food and Wi-Fi important
The move follows a survey by Heineken that asked consumers what they want from a local community pub. With 62% saying that they sought a good food offer in their pub and 24% wanting free Wi-Fi, the Dutch brewer chose to make these a central part of its annual investment.
Pub is the Hub has praised Heineken’s willingness to invest in rural and suburban community pubs. “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,” said John Longden chief executive of the organisation.
The brewer said that it had invested a total of £100m in its estate over the past five years and expects 780 jobs to be created by this 2017 investment.
Watch the managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, Lawson Mountstevens, talk more about the investment below.