This month marks 175 years since birthday brewer Robinsons bought The Unicorn Inn on Lower Hillgate, Stockport, back in 1838. Now, Cheshire family brewers Robinsons are on course to deliver a planned spend of £3.5m on pub refurbishments in 2013, and have already committed to the same for 2014.
“These are really exciting times at the brewery” commented Operations Director David Harrison. “We currently have four new Business Development Managers (and are recruiting a fifth) who, between them and our in-house design team, have developed 35 pubs this year with significant investment schemes. Ever more rewarding is that we are seeing volume growth to encourage a similar investment next year.”
Robinsons is a rare example of a business which has been run by the same family for 175 years. A family tradition, and one which has grown over time, Robinsons take their responsibilities seriously and have continued the long-standing policy of ploughing profits back into the business, the brewery and the pubs.
In the last 12 months alone they have invested £5m into rebuilding their time-honoured Victorian brew house; rebranded their family of ales with a fresh look; released innovative new beers with the likes of Iron Maiden and Simon Rimmer, designed to attract new drinkers to the category; launched a new £2m Visitors and Training Centre and now, after continued substantial investment in their pubs throughout 2013, Robinsons pledge to invest over £3m into improving their pub estate again next year.
Robinsons see this as part of a long-term plan to keep pubs sustainable in all segments of their estate. “Some of our pubs in the Lake District, North Wales and Cheshire are amongst the best pubs you will ever see,” explains David, “but we have dozens of great community-focussed pubs which need an equal amount of love. So alongside significant investment into pub repairs we need to continue to support our pubs at all levels in order to make the most of our diverse pub estate in the North West.”
With over 340 pubs under their wing, Robinsons remain vigilant and aware of the future. “We have been investing in British pubs for more than 175 years, and we don’t intend to stop now,” asserts joint Managing Director (Pubs Division) William Robinson, “but you can’t live on past glories – each generation needs to make changes.”
“Robinsons has always worked on the basis of the long term rather than the short term. Over the years we have demonstrated this with recent investments in our brewery, beers and new Visitor and Training centre, with these completed, we are now able to focus our investments towards the foundation of our business, our pub estate.”