Heineken plans to revive over 60 shuttered pubs.

Heineken, the brewing giant, is set to reopen 62 previously closed pubs and allocate £39 million for the refurbishment of numerous establishments across the UK under its Star Pubs & Bars chain. This substantial investment aims to generate over 1,000 new job opportunities. The UK pub sector has faced significant challenges due to closures during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside financial strains on consumer spending.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), between 2021 and 2023, an average of 500 pubs closed annually. Currently operating 2,400 pubs, Star Pubs & Bars previously had 2,700 in 2019. A spokesperson clarified that while the number of open pubs fluctuates due to various factors, approximately 95% remain operational at any given time.

The renovation strategy focuses on suburban areas, reflecting changes in commuting habits and a preference for local establishments. Heineken plans to transform tired pubs into premium venues, catering to evolving consumer needs amidst increased remote work and a desire to save on travel.

By the end of the current year, Heineken aims to have reopened 156 pubs since early 2023, restoring its estate to pre-pandemic levels. During the pandemic, pubs faced closures and stringent operational restrictions.

In response to economic challenges, Heineken initiated global job cuts in 2021. Inflationary pressures, exacerbated by events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, further impacted the industry. The average price of a pint rose, while pub numbers declined from 47,200 in 2019 to 45,350 in 2023, with a decade-long downward trend.

Some of the reopened pubs had been closed for extended periods, with renovations costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Heineken aims to entice customers back by offering diverse experiences within its revamped venues, employing subtle zoning techniques to cater to various preferences.

The rejuvenation efforts by Heineken and other industry players signal a potential resurgence in the British pub sector. Recent announcements, including Greene King’s brewery expansion and Damm’s investment in a new facility, indicate optimism for future growth. The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) emphasizes the importance of supportive fiscal and regulatory policies to sustain this momentum.

In the March budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt extended measures to support the hospitality sector, including a freeze on alcohol duty and a discount on business rates, providing relief and fostering an environment conducive to industry recovery.

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