Heineken to serve up more than 700 jobs as part of pub investment

Heineken, the global brewer that owns Edinburgh’s historic Caledonian Brewery, plans to create more than 700 jobs across the UK as part of a £42 million investment plan into its pub operation.

The brewing giant, which also has its UK corporate headquarters in Edinburgh, said that 660 pubs - more than a quarter of its Star Pubs & Bars venue business - will be upgraded as part of the move.

The move comes as the UK hospitality industry targets a strong period of recovery in 2022 after some two years hampered by pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.

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Heineken UK said that 137 of its pubs will receive a makeover costing at least £125,000 as it continues to refresh its property estate.

The Dutch-owned group said the latest cash injection will bring the total investment in refurbishing its pubs to £115m since the Covid crisis first hit.

The investment will focus on suburban pubs and those on high streets near residential neighbourhoods which have benefited from an increase in home working, the firm added. Refurbishments will include kitchen refits and new bars at a number of sites.

The group is also focusing on improving outdoor seating areas across some of its pubs amid a continued increase in demand for alfresco drinking and dining.

Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “People have stayed closer to home over the last two years due to the pandemic and turned to their local for the kind of experience they’d previously have travelled to a city centre, restaurant or bar to find.

Heineken is one of the world's largest brewers with major operations in Scotland and the UK. Picture: Ian GeorgesonHeineken is one of the world's largest brewers with major operations in Scotland and the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Heineken is one of the world's largest brewers with major operations in Scotland and the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson

“They don’t want to turn back time: they expect better quality including food and speciality drinks - such as cocktails - that are harder to recreate at home.

“The cost-of-living squeeze on wallets is magnifying these trends. People are looking for a really great experience when they go out - these are challenging times.

“However, we are confident that pubs which adapt to pubgoers’ changing needs will have a bright, long-term future.”

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Last month, Heineken, which is also behind the likes of Sol and Tiger lagers, stuck to its 2022 profit margin forecast after a jump in first-quarter beer sales and prices cheered investors despite uncertainty from the conflict in Ukraine.

Beer volumes rose 5.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from the same period a year earlier, beating the 3.5 per cent average forecast in a company-compiled poll. Premium beer volumes were up 6.3 per cent organically.

Chief executive Dolf van den Brink said: “We had a solid start to the year, in line with our expectations, especially benefiting from strong channel mix from the partial on-trade recovery of Europe and assertive pricing across all regions.

“We continue to make progress on EverGreen and launched Heineken Silver in Europe to drive premiumisation at scale.

“Looking ahead, we see more macro-economic uncertainty and expect significant additional inflationary headwinds putting further pressure on our cost base.

“We will take additional actions including pricing to manage these challenges whilst we continue to invest in superior, balanced growth and sustainable value creation.”

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