Euro 2024: Our guide to watching the tournament down the pub

There’s something magical about watching a football match down the pub, especially when it’s the Euros and your home nations are in the mix. The energy, the camaraderie, and the sheer joy of celebrating with fellow fans create an atmosphere that’s hard to beat. With the Euros 2024 just around the corner, let’s dive into the experience of watching the games at the pub and highlight all the key fixtures for England and Scotland fans.

The Pub Atmosphere: Where Football Lives

Pubs are the heart and soul of football culture in the UK. They transform into vibrant hubs of excitement, where fans gather to cheer on their national teams. The collective anticipation builds as the matches approach, and when the first whistle blows, the roar that erupts can be heard from streets away.

Find the best pubs showing the football near me.

England Fixtures: Roaring with the Three Lions

England fans are known for their passionate support, and the pub is the perfect place to join the throng of voices singing “Three Lions” and “Sweet Caroline.” Here are the fixtures you won’t want to miss:

  1. England vs. Serbia
    • Date: June 16, 2024
    • Time: 8:00 PM BST
    • Venue: Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen
    • Pub Vibes: This opening match is bound to be electric. Fans will be optimistic, decked out in red and white, ready to avenge past disappointments against Croatia.
  2. England vs. Denmark
    • Date: June 20, 2024
    • Time: 5:00 PM BST
    • Venue: Waldstadion, Frankfurt
    • Pub Vibes: A crucial group stage match where every goal could determine the path to the knockout stages. Expect a sea of England jerseys and a chorus of chants.
  3. England vs. Slovenia
    • Date: June 25, 2024
    • Time: 8:00 PM BST
    • Venue: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne
    • Pub Vibes: By this time, the tension will be high. Pubs will be packed, and the atmosphere will be a mix of hope and nerves.

Scotland Fixtures: Tartan Army Takes Over

The Scots bring their unique flair and unwavering support, often turning pubs into mini versions of Hampden Park. Here are the fixtures for the Tartan Army:

  1. Scotland vs. Germany
    • Date: June 14, 2024
    • Time: 8:00 PM BST
    • Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich
    • Pub Vibes: Facing one of the tournament’s favorites, the pubs will be buzzing with the underdog spirit. Tartans and kilts will be everywhere as fans belt out “Flower of Scotland.”
  2. Scotland vs. Switzerland
    • Date: June 19, 2024
    • Time: 8:00 PM BST
    • Venue: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne
    • Pub Vibes: This is a crucial game for Scotland’s hopes of advancing. The atmosphere will be electric, with every tackle and pass cheered on.
  3. Scotland vs. Hungary
    • Date: June 23, 2024
    • Time: 8:00 PM BST
    • Venue: MHPArena, Stuttgart
    • Pub Vibes: The final group stage match, and potentially decisive. The pubs will be at capacity, the tension palpable, and the celebrations could be legendary.

The Pub Experience: Tips for Enjoying the Matches

  1. Arrive Early: Pubs fill up quickly on match days, so get there early to secure a good spot.
  2. Dress the Part: Wear your team’s colours proudly. Face paint and flags are highly encouraged.
  3. Get Involved: Join in the chants and songs. It’s all part of the experience.
  4. Stay Hydrated: While it’s tempting to indulge, remember to drink water, especially if it’s a hot day.
  5. Respect Others: Football is a passionate game, but always respect fellow fans, even if they’re supporting the opposition.

Memories Made at the Pub

Watching the Euros at the pub is more than just seeing the game; it’s about being part of a community of fans who live and breathe football. The highs, the lows, the cheers, and the tears all come together to create unforgettable memories. So, grab your mates, head to the pub, and immerse yourself in the beautiful game. Whether you’re supporting England or Scotland, there’s no better place to be for the Euros 2024. Cheers to football, and here’s hoping for a tournament filled with magic moments!

Ross Kemp to front new campaign championing SmartDispense®

Actor, journalist and documentary maker, Ross Kemp, has joined forces with HEINEKEN UK to showcase the benefits of its industry leading SmartDispense® cellar technology in a highly engaging video series launching later this month.

The new campaign, Ross Kemp Behind Bars, will follow Kemp as he visits great pubs up and down the country to find out how SmartDispense® helps licensees save over 20,000 pints per year of beer, cider, water and gas, and deliver the perfect pint every time.

It comes in response to new research showing the importance of serving great quality beer, with 60% of Brits admitting they have left a pub after one drink because they were unsatisfied with the quality of the serve. Furthermore, 12% claim that when served a bad pint they won’t finish it and just leave. The survey also shows that drink quality is the leading reason Brits would recommend a pub to others (31%), while 54% of pub-goers claim they are more likely to go to a pub if they know the venue had invested in equipment that could better ensure quality pints.

Ross Kemp Behind Bars will kick off on 14th May, with the launch of the first episode in the video series, across SmartDispense® digital channels. As part of the campaign, licensees across the UK will get the chance to win a shift from Ross who will visit the winning venue to serve refreshingly chilled beer and cider to their customers. Anyone signing up to install a SmartDispense® draught system in May, June and July will be entered into the prize draw.

The Ross Kemp Behind Bars campaign will also directly engage with drinkers to remind pub-goers of the hard work that goes into making each pint perfect. The consumer outreach will be supported by a high impact competition and amplification through digital and social channels.   

Will Rice, On-Trade Director, at HEINEKEN UK says: “The pint is at the heart of the British pub experience – it’s that moment where a perfect pour, a clean branded glass, and just the right amount of fizz come together. With HEINEKEN SmartDispense®, we’re on a mission to ensure every pint is perfection, changing the game, ensuring every sip is as perfect as the last. We wanted to lift the lid on the tech behind these perfect pints and who better to help us than one of Britain’s most famous landlords. We know how important quality is to our consumers which is why we’re so excited to not only showcase our HEINEKEN SmartDispense® technology but also shine a light on the hard-working landlords that make it all happen.”

As well as ensuring the perfect pint is poured every time, SmartDispense® enables licensees to save 85% of beer, cider, water and cleaning materials. It also requires fewer line cleans per year, which ultimately saves time, all while increasing the yield of every keg of beer.  

For more information on HEINEKEN SmartDispense® and the prize draw, visit https://smartdispense.heineken.co.uk/events/behind-bars/

Ross Kemp goes back ‘Behind Bars’ on an important mission: To get Brits the best pint at their local

Embedded within the fabric of the nation’s community, it’s the great British pub where people gather with friends to celebrate, commiserate and debate over a fresh, crisp pint. 

The humble pint is key to the pub experience, as nearly twice the number of people say it is more important than the quality of the food when choosing or recommending an establishment to others. 

With warmer weather approaching, the act of enjoying a refreshing, perfectly poured pint of beer or cider is sure to be on many Brits’ agenda. In fact almost half (44%) of Brits say they are more likely to head to a pub or bar to enjoy a pint when the sun is shining.

However, despite many (68%) claiming to have had a “perfect pint” in their lifetime at the pub, new research from HEINEKEN SmartDispense® reveals these are unfortunately not a given, with only 12% saying they consistently receive them today. Two fifths say it is only sometimes (36%) or worse, rare or never (5%).

What does the perfect pint look like? For many (40%), it hinges on a clean glass (the most important factor), served at the right temperature, with the right carbonation and measure, in a correctly branded glass.

Despite our passion for the craft, on those occasions where pub goers are served a sub-par pour, instead of speaking up to share their pint woes, many are instead opting for the British approach – stomaching it so as to not make a fuss (32%) or leaving it to move onto another bar (12%). It seems that British politeness could be getting in the way of them getting the serve they deserve… 

That’s why HEINEKEN SmartDispense® has enlisted the help of documentarian, Ross Kemp, to go back behind bars (of sorts). This time, on an important mission closer to home… the quest to get Brits that perfect pint, every time.

The new series, Ross Kemp Behind Bars, launches today and episode one puts Ross back in the heart of the British pub. Speaking with Matt Deakin, landlord of Birmingham’s oldest pub, The Old Crown, and the punters that frequent it. 

In the episode, Ross uncovers what a quality serve looks like to help pub-goers know what they should be looking for.

The new series launches to shine a light on innovative technology from SmartDispense® and how it  helps pubs deliver punters a quality pint every time. It delves into the benefits it brings to a landlord, by reducing their costs and improving the quality and consistency of beer and cider that they serve. All whilst helping them to minimise their impact on the environment by reducing up to 85% of the beer, cider, water, chemicals and CO2 usually wasted during line cleans thanks to the benefits of the exceptional technology.

Ross Kemp says, “I’ve been on many missions but this one is very close to my heart and home…  A good pint is one of life’s little luxuries. A moment to yourself to relax and unwind at the end of a long day or week… so a sub par pint simply won’t do. We’ve all been there where you’ve tasted a pint that isn’t quite up to scratch so when I heard there was technology that could help pubs deliver a consistent, quality pint every time, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

Will Rice, On-Trade Director, at HEINEKEN UK says: “The pint is at the heart of the British pub experience – it’s that moment where a perfect pour, a clean branded glass, and just the right amount of fizz come together. With HEINEKEN SmartDispense®, we’re on a mission to ensure every pint is perfection, changing the game, ensuring every sip is as perfect as the last. We wanted to lift the lid on the tech behind these perfect pints and who better to help us than one of Britain’s most famous landlords. We know how important quality is to our consumers which is why we’re so excited to not only showcase our HEINEKEN SmartDispense® technology but also shine a light on the hard-working landlords that make it all happen. ” 

Looking to get your hands on a perfect pint this summer? Find your local SmartDispense® pub here and stay tuned for further episodes launching later this year which will see Ross take on London and Manchester with visits to The Henley Arms, Elephant’s Head and The Salisbury

THATCHERS CIDER AND AARDMAN COLLABORATE ON NEW CAMPAIGN

Thatchers Cider are back in the studio with multi–Academy Award® winning studio Aardman for the next chapter of their pint-sized perfection advertising campaign. 

Airing for the first time this weekend, the new series of commercials celebrate the nation’s passion for sport, with the pint-sized models adapting their cider making skills to try their hand at football and cricket. 

The adverts, which will go live on sports channels from 18 May 2024 during the Premier League season climax weekend, use stop motion animation to bring viewers through the barn doors of Thatchers’ Myrtle Farm. The first in the series sees Thatchers’ Head Cider Maker, Richard Johnson, reacting to a perfectly ripe apple falling from the tree, requiring football skills to match his cider making expertise. To make the models lifelike, Aardman animators based his movements on that of football legends. 

The adverts will run across the FA Cup Final and UEFA Euro 2024 tournament as well as the women’s Euro 2025 qualifiers.  

Having tried their hand at football, the Thatchers puppets will next be challenged to use their century of cider making skills to get across the line on the cricket pitch. The cricket adverts will broadcast alongside the Vitality Blast matches from the end of May and into the international cricket season this summer.

The commercials are directed by award-winning talent Magdelena Osinska at Aardman studios in Bristol who says: “What makes Thatchers and Aardman such a perfect match is not just our shared west country heritage, but how we both marry traditional techniques with modern technology to achieve perfection. 

“To bring our characters to life we blend traditional stop motion animation with state-of-the-art visual effects. At Thatchers they use their 120 years of expertise, coupled with state-of-the-art technology to create the perfect pint.” 

With total dedication to their craft, it took a team of 34 people to bring the pint-sized world to life. Using puppets based on the Thatchers family and real people working at the farm, the animators shoot around 2 seconds of film a day. 

Through painstaking attention to detail, such as using a toothbrush and toothpick to comb the dog’s fur between frames, or making the clothes from real fabric worn by the Thatchers, Aardman breathed life into the pint-sized models. 

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker and star of the ads says; “Working with Aardman is a dream come true. We’re two South West businesses, filled with slightly obsessed perfectionists, that have used their attention to detail to become world leaders in their crafts. 

“Down on the family farm we’ve been making cider with nothing but love for four generations and 120 years. It’s our dedicated attention to detail that delivers the perfect pint. It could only be Aardman, a company that shares the total commitment to painstaking perfection and is renowned for bringing joy to people’s lives, that could bring Thatchers to life in such an entertaining and heart-warming way.” 

Fun facts from behind the scenes of the adverts

•   There are different sizes of apple ranging from tangerine size to chickpea size, depending on the scale of set or the perspective.

•   Aardman used approximately 12 pairs of hands to keep the puppets looking good on set and had to replace them after each time they hold an apple as the glue would remove the paint.

•   585 storyboard panels were drawn to script out the adverts. 

•   302 hand painted apples were made for the shoot, with three different sizes needed to match the scale.

•   The upturned collar of Head Cider Maker Richard is a nod to footballing legend, Eric Cantona.

Kate Cox, CEO of Bray Leino, who are Thatchers’ creative agency and worked in partnership on the project said: “We’re really excited about this series of ads. It’s a beautiful continuation of the Thatchers-Aardman partnership which extends the story from last year’s master brand ad. As well as aligning Thatchers with sporting events, we really wanted to further immerse audiences in the Thatchers brand, with touching nods to the family nature of the business.”

The commercial will be part of a multi-media campaign including linear TV, video on demand, cinema and YouTube. This will be enhanced by outdoor advertising and a consumer focussed social media campaign running across the summer.

HEINEKEN spending £39M to upgrade and reopen closed pubs

HEINEKEN UK is investing £39m in upgrading and reopening pubs in its Star Pubs’ estate in 2024 – demonstrating its confidence in the resilience of the great British local in the face of global uncertainty. The move will create an estimated 1,075 new jobs.

A quarter (612) of HEINEKEN UK’s 2,400 pubs are in line for improvement, with 94 of these set for makeovers costing on average £200,000. The investment will also cover works to reopen 62 long-term closed locals in 2024. By the end of the year, HEINEKEN UK will have reopened 156 such pubs since the start of 2023, reducing the number of closed pubs in its estate to pre-pandemic levels.

With working from home more commonplace and people looking to save on travel, major refurbishments will concentrate on transforming tired pubs in suburban areas into premium locals. The revamps are designed to broaden each pub’s use and appeal, giving people additional reasons to visit. Subtle zoning will signpost pubgoers to the area likely to suit them best, enabling different groups of customers to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities – from watching sports to dining – without disturbing each other. Dividing screens and distinct changes to lighting, sound systems and furniture styles will help delineate the zones. The new designs will have a stylish classic feel, providing longevity. Reflecting customers’ increased expectations, the projects will be carried out to a high standard and will impact every part of the pubs, from the toilets to the gardens.

Other common changes will include overhauling cellars with state-of-the-art dispense equipment to ensure consistently perfect pints and repositioning tills to speed up service. Furthering progress against HEINEKEN UK’s ambition to be net zero across its entire value chain by 2040, substantial projects will feature energy efficiency measures, such as heating controls, insulation and low-energy lighting, that will typically cost £12,500 per pub and cut energy use by 15%.

Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs’ Managing Director, said: “People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local. They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment. Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.

“Pubs have proved their enduring appeal; after all the disruption of recent years, Star is on track to have the lowest number of closed pubs since 2019. It’s a tribute to the drive and entrepreneurship of licensees and the importance of continued investment. We’ve spent more than £200m upgrading and maintaining our pubs over the last five years, and we’ll continue to invest to keep them open and thriving. Time and again we see the value consumers place on having a good local and how important it is to communities. Well-invested pubs run by great licensees are here to stay, but like all locals, they need Government support to reduce the enormous tax burden they shoulder.”