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4th July 2023

Stonegate Group and Heineken UK join forces to shine a light on pub inclusiveness

  • New research shows the clear majority of people are more likely to visit a pub or bar that looks and feels inclusive
  • Stonegate Group and Heineken UK are hosting an event to share best practice on how hospitality venues can be more inclusive, and following a successful Pride month celebrate the amazing people who work in LGBTQIA+ friendly venues

Pubs and bars that demonstrate they are inclusive and will not tolerate discrimination are more likely to be visited by the majority of the population. Around 60% of people are more likely to visit pubs that are inclusive, with this number jumping to 76% for people who identify as LGBTQIA+, 82% for people who have accessibility needs and 73% for people from ethnic minorities.

The research has been commissioned jointly by HEINEKEN UK and Stonegate Group, who are holding an event for the UK hospitality industry to facilitate discussions and share best practice on how pubs and bars can continue to be more inclusive.

Thousands of pubs across the country have celebrated Pride month, which is a celebration of people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come, and how in some places there’s still work to be done. Pubs, bars and venues have always been a place for the LGBTQIA+ community has come together, and we want to celebrate these venues and the amazing people who work in them.

The research sadly showed that discrimination still takes place with 45% of LGBTQIA+ people having experienced some kind of discrimination, and 34% not feeling able to be their true selves in a pub or bar for fear of discrimination.

Across the board, the survey showed that the most common reason people visit a pub or bar is to relax and meet with friends, which highlights the need for hospitality venues to provide a welcoming environment. The research showed there are some really simple measures venues can put in place to demonstrate this – from window stickers to making sure social media accounts reflect their inclusivity.

Will Rice, interim on-trade sales director for HEINEKEN UK said “Pubs and bars are so important to the fabric of UK society, and it’s so important that people feel comfortable and welcomed in their surroundings. Across the country, fantastic work is being done in the UK on-trade, and it’s important we, as an industry, build on this momentum, to continue to make pubs and bars a safe destination.”

Liam Martyn, Area Manager at Stonegate Group says “It’s not that long ago that ‘gay pubs’ were almost underground.  People would have to slip discreetly into them, just to feel some sense of belonging.   I’m so happy to see that has changed so much – looking around Soho now, and many other similar areas of cities across the country, the area is vibrant, full of love and fun, and there is definitely a sense of belonging from all people, not just the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Sarah Miller, Business Unit Director at Stonegate Group says: “We’re hosting this event to bring people together, learn and share ideas – so that the on-trade can continue to be inclusive all year round, not just during Pride month.  We also recognise that people working in LGBTQIA+ bars are usually busy working during Pride, and we wanted to put on an event to both thank and celebrate with them.”

If you would like to attend the event on the 11 July at Rupert Street, Soho, at 6.30pm, please email


About HEINEKEN in the UK

HEINEKEN UK, headquartered in Edinburgh, is the nation’s leading beer, cider and pub company and the name behind a host of brilliant brands such as Heineken®, Strongbow, Desperados, Cruzcampo, John Smith’s, Bulmers, Amstel, Red Stripe, Birra Moretti, and Old Mout. With a deep commitment to its people and their passion for their beer and cider brands, HEINEKEN has around 2,100 colleagues working in areas from brewing to marketing and 2,400 pubs to their name as part of their Star Pubs & Bars business. HEINEKEN welcomes people from all walks of life championing employees to unlock their full potential by working anywhere, anytime so they can make the most out of life at HEINEKEN.

About Stonegate Group

About Stonegate Group

Stonegate Group is the largest pub company in the UK and the biggest operator of LGBTQIA+ bars in the country.   Its portfolio is comprised of over 4,500 sites, split across managed, operator led and leased and tenanted businesses.

The managed pubs division, which employs over 16,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs, bars and venues. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Popworld, Be At One and the Venues division. Traditional (unbranded) pubs are made up of: Proper Pubs, Pub & Dining and Social Pub & Kitchen.

The leased and tenanted estate, Stonegate Pub Partners, is made up of over 3,000 diverse sites whilst operator led Craft Union is currently made up of over 500 community pubs.


  • Great British Pub Awards – Stonegate Group Pub Partners’ Pub of the Year, Best Pub to Watch Sport, Community Hero
  • BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year (Jemelle Bish), Best Apprenticeship Training Programme (ATOP)
  • Publican Awards – Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company)


  • Licensed Trade Charity Awards   raising awareness through fundraising
  • Great British Pub Awards – Stonegate Group Pub Partners’ Pub of the Year, Best Pub to Watch Sport
  • MCA Retailers’ Retailer Awards – The Hero Award (Suzanne Baker)


  • Great British Pub Awards – Feeding the Community, Community Mindfulness & Ei Publican Partnerships Pub of the Year
  • REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards – Best New Wellbeing Strategy (5000+ staff)
  • Publican Awards – Best Pub Employer (501+ employees)
  • Publican Awards – Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company)


  • BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year, Lee Woolley (2019); Best Managed Company for Training; Lifetime Achievement Award for Chairman, Ian Payne (2016)
  • CGA Insight Hero and Icon Awards (two awards): Icon Award   Ian Payne MBE, Business Leader, Simon Longbottom (2019)
  • UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards (two awards) – Icon Award (Ian Payne MBE), Best Marketing and Promotions Award (2019);  Best Service & Team (2018)
  • Great British Pub Awards – Best LGBTQ+ Pub (2019); Best LGBTQ+ and Best Sports Pub (2018); Best Pub Garden, Best Entertainment and Best Sports Pub (2017); Best Sports Pub (2016);
  • BII Scotland Awards   Best Operator for Training (2019)
  • Retailers’ Retailer of the Year (two awards): Lifetime Achievement Award, Ian Payne MBE;  Investor of the Year   TDR Capital (2019); Investor of the Year: TDR Capital (2017)
  • Menu Innovation & Development Awards (MIDAS) (two awards): Best Menu, Premium High Street Pub: Slug & Lettuce; Best Menu, Town & City Pub: Walkabout (2019);  Premium High Street Pub: Town Pub & Kitchen (2017); Best New Concept:  Missoula, Montana Bar & Grill (2014); City and Bar Dining: Slug and Lettuce (2013)
  • Publican Awards (five awards): Best Community Pub Operator, Best Pub Employer (501+ employees), Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites), Best Drinks Offer, Business Leader of the Year   Chief Executive, Simon Longbottom (2019); Best Late Night Operator (2018); Best Managed Pub Company; Best Late Night Operator, plus highly commended   Best Employer 501+ employees (2017);  Business Leader of the Year, Chairman Ian Payne (2014); Best Pub Employer 51+ sites (2013)
  • British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA)   Chairman’s Award (2018)
  • Licensed Trade Charity: Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award (2018)
  • APPBG PUBAID Corporate Charity Fundraiser Award (2018)
  • Scottish Training Federation: Best Large Employer  (2016)
  • HR Excellence Awards: Best Learning and Development Strategy (2016)
  • HR Distinction Awards: Innovation for Digital & Social Media (2016); People Development (2015); Innovative Use of Technology (2014)

Contact: Maureen Heffernan,

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