Pub group Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has removed the beer tie from 19 vacant pubs that have been on its books for over four months in the hope of securing new leaseholders for the properties.
S&N said it hopes that by offering the pubs free of tie, the properties will appeal to a larger pool of potential operators, including multiples, brewers looking for a market for their products, existing local free traders wanting another pub but without any capital outlay, and tied lessees looking to try the free of tie model.
S&N's head of lessee training and recruitment, Andy Braithwaite, said: "Having a pub without a permanent lessee is not satisfactory for the individual business, the customers it serves or, given the overheads, for the company as a whole. It makes much more sense to protect the assets of the pub and get in a free of tie lessee to grow the business."
He added: "There are many excellent business opportunities here which would not usually be available free-of-tie and we think that experienced operators will recognise this."
The pubs, which are being marketed by Christie & Co, are spread throughout the UK and include community locals, village pubs and food houses on rents ranging from £11,000 to £41,000 per annum. The leaseholds will also be fully repairing, insuring and run for a minimum of 10 years.
By Emily Manson
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