Cheers!: Brewery giant to invest £39m in reopening pubs

Heineken UK is set to reopen 62 pubs and refurbish hundreds of older venues in a bid to attract customers who predominantly work from home.

Over 90 sites are set up for a makeover, which is expected to cost around £200,000, and the majority are located on sites under Star Pubs and Bars arm. The investment will see 62 sites reopen in 2024, meaning that by the end of the year the brewer will have opened the doors to 156 long-term closed pubs since the end of 2023.

The refurbishments will focus on new designs, signage and dividing screens that will help create different areas of the pubs to accommodate people’s reason for visiting. These include areas for watching sport and eating dinner.

Progress on the scheme has already started as the Ashford arms in Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire, has just reopened after it closed its doors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The establishment has a 107-cover restaurant, nine en-suite rooms and 30-cover alfresco area.

In addition to helping local business and providing entertainment for those who are stuck inside their homes all day, Heineken have also said their developments will benefit the environment. The company have announced they will be launching further projects to improve pub insulation and cut energy use by 15% as part of its goal to become net-zero by 2040.

Commenting on the news, Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs, said: ‘People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local. They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment.’

‘Pubs have proved their enduring appeal; after all the disruption of recent years, Star is on track to have the lowest number of closed pubs since 2019,’ Lawson said. ‘It’s a tribute to the drive and entrepreneurship of licensees and the importance of continued investment. We’ve spent more than £200m upgrading and maintaining our pubs over the last five years, and we’ll continue to invest to keep them open and thriving.’

News of the pubs reopening has come at a tragic time for watering holes across the UK. Following the pandemic and the continued cost-of-living crisis, a record number of pubs have had to shut their doors. The latest figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) shows over 500 pubs closed across the UK in 2023.

Image: Heineken UK 

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