Running A Pub With Belhaven In Scotland

belhaven, pubs to let, pub tenancy, Scotland
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 09/10/2017 - 10:00

Belhaven Brewery has been brewing beers in East Lothian, Scotland, for almost three hundred years. It is the oldest working brewery in Scotland and is much loved by customers across the country. As such Belhaven pubs to let are very popular with tenants and pub operators, if you take on a Belhaven pub you get a slice of this illustrious history, the reputation of the brewery and some great beers to boot!

In recent years the pub and brewing industry in Scotland has seen some changes, and Belhaven is no exception. Balancing customer demand for great places to go out and trends in food and drink, with the traditional pub model is no easy feat. Belhaven has been at the forefront of this change, finding innovative ways to attract customers to our pubs and support our pub operators in doing so.

Fortunately Belhaven has some support too, in the form of Greene King who bought the business in 2005. With the backing of a larger company – Greene King is the UK’s largest pub retailer and brewer – Belhaven provides outstanding support to our pub operators so they can run successful and profitable businesses.

Belhaven’s Support For Pub Operators

The benefits of being part of a substantial company include the capital investment available to refurbish pubs and meet customer demand; the economies of scale when purchasing services or products from suppliers; and the experienced team behind every pub operator, including our Business Development Managers and training partners who provide invaluable support, training and advice.

When you take on a Belhaven pub, you get this collective support, experience and knowledge that is so important for making a success of a pub business.

To find out more about the support our BDMs offer, read this interview with Billy Guthrie (BDM for the North of Scotland) about his role.

It has now been over a decade since Greene King bought Belhaven and we are very proud that our identity as a Scottish brewery is very much intact, that customers continue to seek out Belhaven pubs, and that people want to run our pubs over many of the other pub companies operating in Scotland.

What Makes Running A Belhaven Pub So Great?

Without a doubt, it is our understanding of the market that enables Belhaven’s pub tenants and leaseholders to create successful businesses. We have a wide variety of pubs; like the traditional ‘wet boozer’ that’s an important part of its local community, or the destination pub that attracts tourists and locals for food and premium drinks such as whiskeys and craft beer.

Each pub, whatever market it serves, is an opportunity for someone to run their own business and earn an income. Some pubs are what we term ‘lifestyle businesses’ where the pub operator can expect a good income from the business, these generally suit people who want to be part of the community and take a hands on approach to running a pub – a great example of this is the Islay Inn in Glasgow.

Other sites offer different opportunities, such as the Elizabethan in Dunfermline. This pub is one of six pubs that Andrena and Alan Smith-Bowes run; they’ve created a substantial business for themselves as multi-site operators. The pubs in their portfolio all work successfully together because they can be run with experienced pub managers overseen by Andrena and Alan. That's not to say they don’t occasionally pull a pint or two, but their business model and objectives are different to those of Alexis Baillie and William Keenan who run the Islay Inn.

Our understanding of the market and how each Belhaven pub sits in that market means that we find the right pub operators for each opportunity. We don’t want to give you a pub if it’s not right for you. Then we work with you to develop the business, whether that involves a major refurbishment project or just a few small changes to your menus. Regardless of the type of pub and your goals, our Business Development Managers are available to talk through ideas, make suggestions, share their experience (and the experience of other pub operators) and be your dedicated business advisor.

With the wealth of experience our BDMs have across Scotland, and the rest of the UK with Greene King, we’ve got your back!

Belhaven Pub Tenancies

As well as a full range of pubs to choose from, Belhaven also offer various agreements that provide our pub operators with different options in the way they run their pub. While individual pubs may be only suitable for a particular type of agreement, for example a standard tenancy, this does allow you some flexibility to find a pub that works for you.

Within a standard tenancy agreement there are also some tie variations available, such as partial tie where all beer, cider and minerals are tied but wine can be purchased from other suppliers. What suits you will depend on the type of pub you want to run and your business objectives. Our philosophy is very much to find you the right pub and agreement so that you can fulfil those objectives.

As BDM Billy Guthrie says in his interview mentioned above, “It’s all about the partnership with the tenant.”

Here at Belhaven we’re really proud of that partnership and how many of our pubs are thriving in a difficult economic climate and in a competitive sector. Our pub operators are doing their bit to innovate and create pub businesses that meet the demands of customers today; we’re doing our bit to give them the support they need so that all parties can prosper.

If you want to run a Belhaven pub, what should you do?

The first step is to apply to a run a pub with Belhaven. You don’t have to have found your perfect pub at this stage; in fact if you apply today we will start that search for you. Once you’ve competed the online application form, we will be in touch to arrange a chat. This will involve meeting with a BDM or area manager to talk through your ideas for running a pub, your background and experience, and to answer all your questions about running a pub with Belhaven.

Following this interview, if everyone’s happy, we can start exploring potential pubs that might be suitable for your business ideas.

Sometimes you see a pub and just know it’s perfect for your objectives. If you think we may already have a pub available that ticks all your boxes, click here to search for a Belhaven pub to let. Alternatively, use the links below to explore pubs that are currently available in these Scottish regions:

Pub to let in Aberdeenshire

Pub to let in Fife

Pub to let in Inverness-shire

Pub to let in Lanarkshire

Pub to let in Midlothian

Pub to let in Moray

Pub to let in Renfrewshire

Pub to let in Stirling

We also have a Facebook group for anyone interested in getting into the pub trade in Scotland, and for existing pub operators. The aim of the group is to share ideas, experience and insights into the trade and to support each other in making our pubs a success. Please click here to join.