Star Pubs and Bars has “lodged an appeal” over the £2m fine it was handed by Fiona Dickie, the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) earlier this year.
Dickie deemed in October that the company had “seriously and repeatedly” breached the Pubs Code across a timespan of almost three years.
The “game-changer” investigation into Heineken’s pub arm found that, despite regulatory interventions and clear arbitration rulings from the PCA, the firm had “persisted” in forcing its tenants to sell unreasonable levels of Heineken products when they requested to go free of tie.
The result of Dickie’s investigation was a £2m fine for a total of 12 breaches for Star Pubs, a decision that the company has since deemed “unwarranted and disproportionate”.
Lawson Mountstevens, managing director at Star Pubs, said on the announcement of an appeal: “We are deeply disappointed and frustrated at the outcome of the PCA’s investigation. There are many aspects of the report that we fundamentally disagree with and we have lodged an appeal with the High Court.
“This penalty is unwarranted and disproportionate, and comes at a time when the entire sector is in serious financial crisis as we work around the clock to support our pubs and licensees to keep their businesses afloat.”
He added: “We are dedicated to the Pubs Code in both word and spirit, and do not believe the investigation accurately reflects the culture of our business or the good working relationship we have with the vast majority of our licensees.”