Heineken has announced plans to invest GBP126m (US$211.8m) in upgrading its UK brewing, cider-making and on-trade operations.

The company will spend GBP50m on its Manchester Brewery, which produces Foster's and Kronenbourg 1664, and GBP58m on its Bulmers-producing Hereford cider plant, it said today (9 June). A total of GBP18m will also be pumped into the Dutch group's UK on-trade estate, Star Pubs & Bars. 

At the Manchester Brewery, the upgrade will boost annual brewing production to around 2m hectolitres, while a new kegging line will be installed. Work is due to complete at the site by next summer, Heineken said. 

The spend in Hereford will allow the group to scale up exports of its ciders to “key” global markets. All UK cider production will be handled on the site, with Heineken’s fruit milling operation remaining at Ledbury, it said. Work will be completed in 2016. 

In April, the company announced plans to move all cider production and packaging undertaken at its plant in Ledbury to Hereford. A total of 97 staff entered into a consultation process with the firm about their roles.  

The investment in Star Pubs & Bars will see around 200 venues benefit, with 60 to 70 “major” refurbishments. 

David Forde, Heineken's MD, said the investments are a “clear demonstration of our long-term commitment to the UK”. 

In its last set of full-year numbers, Heineken reported that its total UK volumes slipped by low single-digits