Brewer and pub owner Greene King, which has been aggressively expanding its estate over the past six months, is to test a new pub format, “The University of Life”, in its managed estate division.
The first pub to be converted to the new look is The Goose on London’s Wandsworth Bridge Road, which will open in the new format next month. It is believed that the new brand will be a “lads’ pub” targeting a young, relatively downmarket male audience.
The rebranding may lead to confusion. Another Greene King arm – the tenanted and leased division – already uses a format called The Academy of Life. According to a company spokeswoman, this is a very different concept, targeting adults in their thirties and has a more relaxed atmosphere and a higher standard of customer care.
Greene King is pursuing an aggressive, marketing-driven expansion programme, following December’s appointment of Sue Thomas-Taylor, formerly marketing director of high street brands at Whitbread, as marketing director.
Thomas-Taylor oversees a budget of over &£6m, and has overall responsibility for the marketing of the group’s 1,100 tenanted pubs, 650 managed pubs and four major beer brands (Greene King IPA, Abbot Ale, Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen).
Last September, Greene King bought Old English Inns, while earlier this month it acquired Scottish chain Dalgety Pubs. It is understood that the group plans to expand its managed chain further.