Heineken plans to invest £39 million in refurbishing and reopening closed pubs

Heineken UK is set to invest £39 million in reopening 62 pubs and refurbishing hundreds of its older venues, aiming to appeal to customers who have grown accustomed to working from home.

The brewer, with approximately 2,400 sites under its Star Pubs and Bars arm, stated that a quarter of its venues are slated for improvement this year.

Over 90 of these are scheduled for makeovers, with an average cost of £200,000 each.

The investment will result in 62 sites reopening in 2024. By the end of the year, Heineken will have reopened 156 long-term closed pubs since the end of 2023.

Heineken stated that this initiative would create an estimated 1,075 new jobs and bring its number of closed pubs back to pre-pandemic levels.

The refurbishments will prioritise the introduction of new designs, signage, and dividing screens to create distinct areas within the pubs, catering to diverse uses such as watching sports and dining.

Recent re-openings include the Ashford Arms (pictured) in Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire, which reopened post-pandemic as a country pub featuring a 107-cover restaurant, nine en-suite rooms, and a 30-cover alfresco area. Similarly, the Ship in Barnsley has transformed into a local pub with a focus on sports and entertainment.

As part of its aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, Heineken will initiate additional projects aimed at improving pub insulation and reducing energy consumption by 15%.

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.

Heineken entered the UK pub market by acquiring Scottish & Newcastle’s UK operations in 2008, subsequently rebranding them as Star Pubs & Bars.

'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.'