Three pubs across Lancashire are to benefit from a £1.8 million investment thanks to Heineken UK.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis – and three of the most challenging years ever for pubs – Heineken is maintaining its commitment to the great British local, investing £40m in upgrading almost a quarter of pubs in its Star Pubs & Bars’ estate in 2023. 

More than £1.8m is allotted to North-West pub investments with a further £435,000 from pub operators, and 80 jobs will be created on the back of the refurbishments.

The company has identified a further two pubs in the county for investment and is in talks with operators about taking the Broadfield in Leyland, and the Towneley pub in Longridge to the next level.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Queens, KirkhamThe Queens, Kirkham (Image: Heineken UK)

It also plans to undertake refurbishments at the following pubs subject to recruiting new operators:

  • Crofters in Leyland – A £100,000 Star investment will see a full internal and external upgrade, giving the community local a smarter look and a new lease of life.
  • Wheatsheaf in Leyland – Around £102,000 will be spent updating and upgrading this tired looking pub inside and out.
  • Queen’s in Kirkham – A £100,000 sympathetic revamp of this traditional cask ale pub will take it to the next level, giving it a warmer, more welcoming ambience inside and a striking external façade.

Heineken UK’s spend will focus on neighbourhood locals, which make up 70 per cent of the company’s 2,400 pubs.

The move chimes with new research revealing the increasing trend to socialise nearer to home since the cost-of-living crisis began and pubgoers’ keenness to support their local pubs through the economic challenges.

Out of all pubgoers questioned:

  • Nearly 60 per cent are choosing pubs closer to home.
  • 56 per cent are more likely to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays and big nights out, at their local. Of these, six out of ten cite affordability compared to going ‘into town’ and four out of ten state savings on transport as the reasons.
  • 52 per cent say they are supporting their local pub more in recognition of the pressures on local businesses.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Wheatsheaf in LeylandThe Wheatsheaf in Leyland (Image: Agency)

In keeping with the British public’s appreciation of local, independently operated businesses, every refurbishment will be bespoke and tailored to the individual pub and the community it serves.

The new decors will enhance the character of the buildings, retaining features such as flagstone floors and fireplaces, whilst updating the pubs and providing the quality feel that pubgoers now demand.

Garden makeovers will also be a common feature of the investment programme, with new seating areas providing extra space for customers.

Reflecting Heineken UK’s ambition to be net zero through its entire supply chain, including pubs, by 2040, all significant projects will include measures to boost sustainability and, at the same time, reduce energy bills to help combat inflation.

Energy efficiency works will range from adding insulation and motion-sensor lighting to installing technology that will turn off drinks fridges when no movement is detected behind the bar and switch off cellar cooling equipment when the surrounding temperature is low enough.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars’ managing director, said: “We know from previous economic downturns that when customers’ disposable income is squeezed, they look for an exceptional experience when they go out.

“A great ambience and attractive surroundings are key and contribute to the value for money that pubgoers seek. It’s more important than ever to invest during uncertain times like these, to keep pubs thriving and meeting the needs of their communities.

“The last three years have been tough for everyone. People want some light relief and to get together and enjoy themselves. Pubs are ideally placed to meet this demand, offering an affordable treat.  Our investment is a vote of confidence in the great British local.”

Minister for Investment Lord Johnson said: “This weekend, communities across the country will come together to raise a glass to the King’s coronation in their local pub. Heineken’s investment is great news, not only creating hundreds of new jobs and improving pubs up and down the country but also making a contribution to our Net Zero targets.”