DUTCH brewing giant Heineken is to invest £30m into its UK Star Pubs & Bars estate this year as part of a five-year plan to boost its food offering at its “wet-led” pubs.
The company became a leading player in the UK pub sector after buying Scottish & Newcastle in 2008 with Denmark’s Carlsberg. In 2011, it took control of 918 tenanted pubs from RBS that were also formerly owned by S&N, in a £412m deal.
It now owns 1050 pubs across the UK, operated by individual licensees. include Blue’s Smokehouse in Twickenham, west London and Captain Cook in Fulham.
Britain’s traditional drinks-led pubs have struggled in recent years due to weak consumer confidence, rising beer duties, and the smoking ban, prompting their owners to diversify into food.
Heineken said a quarter of its estate will benefit from its spending programme this year. This includes 117 major refurbishments with an average spend of £175,00. Last year it invested £18m in its pubs.
Heineken’s head of on-trade business Lawson Mountstevens told City A.M: “The main driver is to make the pubs sustainable and keep them as part of the community they operate in. If you are giving pubs multiple income streams you are making them places to thrive.”