Ei invests £1.7m to create new home for Craft Union Pub Co

The UK’s largest pub company, Ei Group has invested £1.7m to transform the Grade II-listed Wakefield & Barnsley Union Bank building on Westgate, Wakefield, opening a ‘Pub Support Hub’ and HQ base this week for Craft Union Pub Company.

Following an extensive refurbishment, the building reopened last week and is home to a new Craft Union pub (the Union Bank), as well as accommodating the pub company’s support team and a suite of training and meeting facilities for use by the wider group.

Known as the Pub Support Hub, this initiative will generate 20 jobs for the local area and further demonstrates Ei Group’s ongoing commitment to reinvigorating pubs in local communities, having invested over £350m in its estate during the past five years, plus a further £80m circa this financial year.

Craft Union Pub Company, part of Ei’s Managed Operations division, will benefit hugely from the investment, as the new space will enable the business to have a permanent base, which will facilitate the support and training their publicans need to continue delivering exceptional customer experiences, share best practice, and enhance their own personal development.

The Union Bank will be Craft Union’s third pub in Wakefield, joining the Strafford Arms and the Raven. Craft Union has rapidly grown to a nationwide estate of 330 pubs, reaching a significant milestone this year, since launching in May 2015. Initially, the concept was born in the North West but now reaches across the UK with sites located further South and South-East.

Craft Union is aiming to build its pipeline of sites to 400 over the next year, with a continued focus on its wet-led only community pub proposition.

Frazer Grimbleby, Operations Director, Craft Union Pub Company, said, “The Group’s ethos is to invest in great quality pubs at the heart of local communities; The Pub Support Hub, which is home to the Union Bank pub, has been developed within a magnificent Grade II-listed historic building that we have revitalised and restored to its former glory.

'Our people are the most important part of our business and this new facility gives them a base for the support and training they need to continually deliver exceptional experiences in our pubs.”