1,000 jobs

Heineken to invest £39m in reopening 62 pubs

Pubs will reopen across the country

Brewing giant Heineken is reopening 62 pubs in a £39m refurbishment programme that includes some of those shut during the Covid lockdown.

Apart from breathing new life into communities, the move will create 1,000 jobs across the company’s Star Pubs & Bars chain.

Pubs were hard hit during the Covid pandemic and by rising costs caused by global tensions. Between 2021 and 2023, there were 500 closures a year, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

Star Pubs & Bars currently operates 2,400 pubs, down from 2,700 in 2019.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs’ managing director, 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.

“Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.”

Star plans to renovate more than 600 pubs, choosing locations it said reflect how many of its customers have cut back on how often they commute into city centres. It is understood that The County Hotel in North Berwick, The Cedar Inn in Aberdour, and The Kilderkin in Edinburgh, are among those targeted for investment.

Heineken added: “With working from home more commonplace and people looking to save on travel, major refurbishments will concentrate on transforming tired pubs in suburban areas into premium locals.”

It said that by the end of this year, it will have reopened 156 pubs since the start of 2023, “reducing the number of closed pubs in its estate to pre-pandemic levels”.

The average price of a pint of draught lager reached £4.71 in March, according to the Office for National Statistics, compared to £3.76 in February 2020 before the pandemic-enforced lockdown the following month.

The number of pubs in the UK has fallen from 47,200 in 2019, before Covid, to 45,350 in 2023, data from the BBPA shows. A decade ago there were 52,500.

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