Heineken promises £50m for 150 pubs

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

No longer boarded up: the Extraordinary Hare has already received a £500,000 investment
No longer boarded up: the Extraordinary Hare has already received a £500,000 investment
Brewer and pubco Heineken has ring-fenced £50m to pump into 150 of its Star Pubs & Bars sites, a record sum for the business, which is estimated to create 1,200 jobs in the sector.

The company has already siphoned £190m into the refurbishment of its estate since 2013 and now 150 more of its 2,700 sites have been earmarked for an average spend of £250,000 per venue.

All aspects of the pubs lined up for investment will be considered, including gardens, kitchens, bars, snugs and toilets.

Star said bespoke refurbishments will be given to each pub to emphasise various characteristics, while environmentally friendly technology Smart Dispense will also be installed.

Refurbishments won’t be about creating “a nicer pub”, said the group, but about enhancing the customer experience and generating better returns for licensees.

The great British pub

“We believe in the great British pub,” said Heineken UK managing director David Forde. “We’ve invested just shy of £200m in the past six years into hundreds of our Star Pubs & Bars businesses.

“They all have bespoke refurbishments that respect the heritage of the buildings, keep the soul of the pub, and give a fresh and welcoming look for its locals.

“Pubs are the hubs of communities – they are where people meet, chat and laugh, where we enjoy everything from pub quizzes to karaoke, from a quiet pint to a fabulous home-cooked meal,” he continued.

“Some would have you believe the pub is in danger. We are in the business to keep pubs open and thriving, providing a boost to the local community.”

The Extraordinary Hare in West Hendred, Oxford, has already received £500,000 of investment, having been boarded up for four years.

The only pub in the village is now said to be thriving, with a new exterior, exposed brickwork and original fireplaces the focus of the renovation. Some 10 jobs have also been created in the community as a result.

Forgotten by many 

Licensee Kate Hayden said: “The Extraordinary Hare had been closed for so long that it had been forgotten by many people.

“There’s plenty of competition and expectations are high, so changes had to be eye-catching to put it back on the map.

“The response has been amazing. Residents are delighted to have their local back and are using it for all sorts of different occasions.”

Licensee Kate Hayden
Chuffed: Extraordinary Hare licensee Kate Hayden

Chief executive of the non-for-profit scheme Pub is the Hub John Longden OBE said Heineken’s investment in pubs was “extremely welcome”.

He added: “With local shops and services closing in many parts of the country, pubs have an increasingly vital role to play as hubs of their communities.

“Heineken’s continued investment to ensure its pubs remain relevant to the residents they serve.”

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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