Heineken is investing £44m this year in UK pubs and bars, creating 1,000 jobs, the brewing giant said on Monday.
It will plough an average of £170,000 each into hundreds of outlets run by its Star Pubs & Bars division. The investment will take Heineken’s total expenditure on UK pubs to £140m over the past five years, the company said. Money will be spent on offering improved food, better service and an enjoyable environment.
Pubs closed at a rate of 18 per week in the second half of 2017, according to figures from the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).
Brothers Michael & Shaun O’Rourke are two beneficiaries of Heineken’s investment, having recently reopened their pub the Coachman in Whickham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after a £550,000 upgrade.
Michael said: “The quality of the refurbishment is amazing. We were a bit worried it might be too modern, but people love it and say it’s exactly what the community has been crying out for.
“We’ve been told that it’s brought the community back together. We’ve had people coming in and socialising who haven’t set foot in the pub or talked to one another for 20 years.
“Older men still come in for a drink and to play a game of dominoes, but now the pub also attracts young people on a Friday and Saturday night, and families for evening tea.”
John Longden, chief executive Pub is The Hub, a group offering advice and support to communities that are looking to improve services and activities in their local pubs, said the investment was “good news for everyone”.
“Pubs are increasingly being recognised as a force for good and important social hubs for communities, driving local economies and supporting local employment,” Mr Longden said.