Heineken’s pub arm Star set to create 500 jobs with £38m investment programme

Heineken has said it is pumping £38 million of investment into its UK pub and bar business, in a move set to create 500 jobs.

The investment will benefit 700 pubs in the Star Pubs & Bars chain

The Dutch beer giant said the cash injection will benefit around 700 pubs in its Star Pubs & Bars operation by the end of 2021.

It comes as the group seeks to accelerate the recovery of its venues after being hit heavily by enforced closures at the start of the year and throughout large parts of 2020 due to the pandemic.

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The firm said almost 80 pubs will receive “major makeovers” costing up to £400,000 each as part of the programme.

Investment is being particularly directed towards creating premium sites in suburban and high street locations within a 10-minute walk from residential areas as people spend more time at home due to shifts in working habits.

Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star, said: “Many people have rediscovered the joy of their neighbourhood pub between lockdowns over the last year, and are opting to stay local.

“This investment responds to that demand, giving communities quality pubs on their doorsteps.

“The pandemic has shown the resilience of the great British pub and especially the leased and tenanted model.

“We’re committed to building on that support with refurbishments, so that pubs around the country thrive for the long-term.”

Mr Mountstevens added that the firm has spent £62 million on rent cuts to keep its pubs afloat throughout lockdown periods.

Star Pubs & Bars’ investment in a refurbishment of the White Swan in Otley with licensee Jason Smith has upgraded the pub and made it more sustainable in the long-term.

Mr Smith said: "Star and I took the time to find out what customers wanted before the refurbishment as The White Swan is a friendly, much-loved community local and people were worried about change. They wanted to see improvements but not for the pub to be completely overhauled.

"Feedback since we reopened has been brilliant. Those that are venturing out again love it and The Otley Pub Club said it had regenerated an old-fashioned pub."