Heineken UK to sell 150-strong package of pubs: Heineken UK is looking to sell a package of 150 pubs with a value of circa £55m to £60m, Propel has learned. It’s thought the majority are former Punch pubs with good tenants and held on substantive leases. It is understood agent CBRE is handling the sale of the pubs, which are being sold as a single package, with the majority spread across England and Wales. It’s thought suitors for the 150-strong package will include Admiral Taverns, NewRiver (Hawthorn Leisure) and Red Oak Taverns. Heineken completed its acquisition of Punch Securitisation A, comprising about 1,900 pubs across the UK, in August 2018 as part of a back-to-back deal with Vine Acquisitions, a company formed at the direction of Patron Capital. Heineken UK has been integrating the pubs into its Star Pubs & Bars estate, creating the country’s third-largest pub company. In April, Heineken announced it would invest a record £50m into its Star Pubs & Bars estate this year, with 150 projects planned creating about 1,200 jobs. The investment programme would see everything from gardens, kitchens, bars, snugs and toilets refurbished, while each pub would be fitted with Heineken’s Smart Dispense technology.
Charles Wells reveals name change as work starts on new home: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has revealed it’s to change its name as the company starts work on its new headquarters in the town. The company will be called Wells & Co, reflecting its “change in direction” including its new home and growing investment in its managed pubs to meet the “changing needs of the next generation of customers”. The move comes as work started this week on Brewpoint, which will house a pub restaurant, retail shop, coffee roastery, company offices and a visitors’ centre, all focused around its brewery operation. Due to open in early summer 2020, Brewpoint will be on a gateway site where the A6 meets the town’s northern bypass. Brewpoint will have capacity to make 30,000 hectolitres of beer a year, equivalent to five million pints. During the past couple of years, the business has been creating monthly collaboration brews with some of the UK’s smaller brewers. The resulting beer sold under the Wandering Brewer name has been poured in Wells & Co pubs since October 2017. Brewpoint will brew the most popular Wandering Brewer beers alongside its Charlie Wells Dry Hop Lager and Triple Hop IPA beer. The majority of beer will go to pubs in the company’s own estate. Brewpoint features sustainability designs such as solar cells and shading, and air-source heating and cooling. Chief executive Justin Phillimore said: “After 142 years and five generations of family involvement we haven’t embarked on this lightly, but it embodies the change of direction we have taken as a business. This includes the significant investment we are making in our pubs and the creation of a beautifully designed new home capable of producing a range of beer styles we wouldn’t have dreamed of ten years ago. It is a statement of confidence about our future direction as a company.” Commercial director Peter Wells added: “Our family and Bedfordshire heritage remain a key part of our DNA and a credit to what the business has achieved so far. This is an exciting time for myself and the team, watching this fabulous site grow over the coming months as we eagerly anticipate opening in summer next year.”
Government announces tourism sector deal: Prime minister Theresa May has announced the UK’s first tourism sector deal, revolutionising the way data is used by the sector through the creation of a tourism data hub. The hub will collate data showing the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors. The deal will also support the creation of 10,000 apprenticeships in the tourism and hospitality sectors. In addition, it will see the creation of local tourism zones, a business events strategy, and significant investment in infrastructure and connectivity. About 38 million people visited the UK last year, contributing £23bn to the economy. Experts predict there will be an additional nine million visitors to the UK by 2025 and the new deal commits to building 130,000 hotel rooms in response. May said: “The UK is a world leader in international tourism and it’s crucial we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands. This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.” UKHospitality hailed the deal as a “landmark moment”. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The move will be critical to change perception of the sector and acknowledges hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”