The drinks companies supporting the hospitality industry during Covid-19
As restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés are closed around the world due to Covid-19, we round up the drinks companies that have pledged to support the hospitality industry through one of its darkest times.
While the lockdown in the city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 was first detected, is set to be lifted on 8 April, the spread of the coronavirus outside China has intensified.
The UK is now on lockdown, while other European countries including Italy, France and Spain, have already had stringent measures in place for some time.
South Africa, the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa, has recently announced a three-week lockdown.
In the US, 16 states, including California, Oregon and Michigan, nine counties and three cities have urged inhabitants to remain at home.
For the time being, in many countries and regions around the world, the hospitality industry has ceased to exist.
We’ve rounded up the drinks companies who have pledged to donate funds to support workers that have lost their livelihoods.
Other companies, including Carlsberg, Campari and Zamora Company, have donated money to researchers studying the virus, local healthcare facilities and disadvantaged groups within the community.
Italian wine group Cantine Riunite & CIV, for example, has donated €300,00 to support the fight against Covid-19 in Italy, the worst hit country in Europe.
The money has gone to local hospitals and health facilities in three provinces where the company makes wine.
Others, mostly distillers, have pledged to produce hand sanitiser for both the public and doctors.
UK charities supporting those affected by restaurant and bar closures include Hospitality Action and The Drinks Trust.
Beam Suntory and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Jim Beam maker Beam Suntory and US alcohol distributor Southern Glazer’s have given US$1 million to the USBG Foundation Emergency Assistance Program and the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
Albert Baladi, president and CEO of Beam Suntory, said: “The people of Beam Suntory and our colleagues at SGWS are passionate about helping support the bartenders, restaurant workers and their families whose lives have been turned upside down by the global pandemic.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions. We are proud to support the trade community and their livelihoods, as they are part of our extended Beam Suntory family, and we are fortunate to be part of an industry where so many companies are uniting to assist our communities in this unprecedented battle.”
Wayne Chaplin, CEO of SGWS, added: “We are pleased to partner with Beam Suntory to support the trade community. In a time of great need, it is important to unite efforts to provide the trade with extra resources to ensure everyone ultimately emerges in a position of strength, together.”
Beam Suntory is also working with other US distributors in order to provide donations to more local organisations.
Bacardi and Patrón
Bacardi has launched a new campaign called #RaiseYourSpirits, an initiative aimed at supporting bars and restaurants affected by coronavirus.
The spirits giant has pledged US$3 million in financial aid and other support to help people in the bartending and restaurant community.
Last week, Bacardi-owned Tequila brand Patrón also donated US$1 million to hospitality charities Children of Restaurant Employees; Another Round, Another Rally; and The James Beard Foundation.
Bacardi’s donation is addition to the amount donated by Patrón. The company said it was working with a number of charities including Another Round, Another Rally; CORE; the James Beard Foundation; Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation; and Tales of the Cocktail.
Mahesh Madhavan, CEO of Bacardi, said: “Bacardi is a family company, and for us, business is personal. We always say that love for our brands is built in bars, and now it is our turn to show them our love. We don’t have all the answers today on how best to help everywhere, but we are committed to do what we can to see our industry through this crisis. These may be the darkest of days for bars and restaurants, but I am certain that when we come out on the other side, people will emerge from isolation with a renewed zest to live life to the fullest and celebrate together with friends and family.”
The owner of Jack Daniel’s, Brown-Forman, has donated US$1 million to coronavirus relief funds including One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund, Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’ COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund, and the United States Bartenders’ Guild Foundation Emergency Assistance Program.
Brown-Forman CEO Lawson Whiting said: “As Covid-19 has spread throughout the world, we want to provide assistance to our communities in this time of great need. We are announcing today donations totaling $1 million that will enable us to give back to the people and communities that mean so much to our company.”
As well as ramping up hand sanitiser producer, Diageo has pledged £1 million to support the bartending community in Britain.
Under the guise of its beer brand Guinness, the drinks company pledged £1 million to support bartenders in the free trade across Great Britain. A similar community fund is being set up in Ireland.
In addition, anyone working in the drinks trade will be given the opportunity to attend a complimentary Diageo Bar Academy Training Course, consisting of virtual training and online learning.
Dayalan Nayager, managing director Great Britain, Ireland and France at Diageo said: “The British drinks trade is facing one of its most challenging times ever and we want to help our communities when they need us most. We all need to come together to support the trade and I would urge all my fellow drinks producers to do what they can to help our British pubs, bars and retailers and restaurants over the next few months.”
New Amsterdam Vodka
New Amsterdam Vodka, owned by E&J Gallo, has created a T-shirt with proceeds from sales benefiting bartenders. The t-shirt will be sold on Barstool Sports and money from the sale will be given to the United States Bartenders Guild Foundation’s (USBGF) Covid-19 Relief Campaign.
Britt West, vice president and general manager of spirits for E. & J. Gallo Winery, said: “It was immediately clear to us that in conjunction with Barstool Sports and their enormous e-commerce platform and community reach, we could utilize the t-shirt idea to raise funds for the United States Bartenders Guild Foundation’s Covid-19 Relief Campaign.”
Brewing giant Molson Coors has donated US$1 million to the United States Bartenders Guild to support bar staff and other industry workers.
Its brand Miller Lite has also launched a social media campaign which directs people to donate to the USBG’s National Charity Foundation’s Bartender Emergency Assistance programme, which offers relief to bartenders and service professionals.
Vice president Anup Shah, said: “Bartenders and service workers are essential to bringing people together… we want do our part to support the great people who make the industry what it is.”
Irish whiskey brand Jameson has pledged to donate US$500,000 to the United States Bartenders’ Guild to support members of the on-trade affected by coronavirus.
A statement on social media last week read: “Normally on St Patrick’s Day, we’d be celebrating our favourite holiday with everyone at the neighbourhood bar. And while many may not be able to get together the way they’d like to right now – we know that only one thing is certain – we need to keep the spirit of this holiday alive together.
“At Jameson, that means standing behind the people that have made Jameson what it is today: our neighbourhood bartenders.
“We are pledging $500,000 to support the charity of the United States Bartenders’ Guild because we know that there may be some hard roads ahead for members in this community.
“To our local bartenders: you’ve always had our backs, and we promise to always have yours.”
Owner Pernod Ricard has also promised to produce hand sanitiser at several of its brand sites.
Sazerac’s Fireball Whisky has created the ‘world’s biggest tip jar’ to support industry professionals. It donated an initial US$100,000 and will match all contributions, donated via a GoFundMe page, up to US$400,000. All money will be given to the USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.
Vodka maker Tito’s has donated US$2 million to organisations that are providing assistance to those affected by the current pandemic. It is also giving a further US$1 million to four companies focused on helping those in hospitality. These charities include CORE, USBG Foundation, Southern Smoke, and World Central Kitchen.
The company said it would also be supporting local efforts to support those affected by the pandemic via its ‘Love Tito’s’ campaign. The distiller has also started production of hand sanitiser.
Mitcher’s Distillery and Philip Duff
Mitcher’s Distillery and New York-based spirits consultant and educator, Philip Duff, have made a joint donation of US$10,000 to US bartending charity USBG National Charity Foundation.
Matt Magliocco, vice president of Michter’s, commented: “Amid this unimaginable situation, we are partnering with our friend Philip Duff to support the lifeblood of the beverage industry – hospitality professionals. Philip recently did some consulting work for Martí Auténtico, a rum brand owned by our parent company, Chatham Imports. With America’s bars and restaurants now closing suddenly, Philip graciously suggested donating his fee towards the USBG’s critically important Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. We naturally agreed on the spot and have made this donation jointly. We hope this small gesture will make a difference to the USBG Foundation’s vital work to help our many mutual friends in the hospitality business. We’re both committed to supporting the industry for as long as this crisis continues.”
Duff’s spirit brand Old Duff Genever has also built in a US$1-per-bottle donation to charities directly benefitting bartenders, including the USBG Foundation and The Drinks Trust in the UK.
Josh Phelps and Grounded Wine Co.
Winemaker Josh Phelps has announced that he is donating 10% of sales from Grounded Wine Co. to the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County to help those who have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus shutdown, including restaurant workers who have been made redundant.
Phelps said: “The moment we are living is a great opportunity to take care of each other and come closer together as a community. The unprecedented ripple effect of the coronavirus has had a devastating and unexpected impact on our friends and neighbors who have temporarily lost their jobs.”
Concha y Toro UK
The UK subsidiary of Chilean winery Concha y Toro has urged drinks companies in the UK to support The Drinks Trust during the Covid-19 crisis. The company said it has made a “substantial donation” and is calling on others to do the same.
Simon Doyle, general manager of Concha y Toro UK, said: “The recent days and weeks have been and continue to be an unprecedented situation in the UK economy, in the workplace and around the world. In our industry on trade-focused drinks companies have come under sudden and immediate threat. In many cases these are well-founded, long established businesses. In others they are dynamic new small or medium enterprises who have found themselves with their livelihoods at risk through no fault of their own. Good and previously prosperous businesses are being starved of cashflow and many are now compelled to close their doors for an indefinite period.
“The Drinks Trust provides a vital service to those in our industry who have encountered hardship in some form. The Trust does great and essential work throughout the year to support those in the industry that find themselves in difficulty, including some very pro-active work on mental health. The services they provide are free of charge to users and as we are all only too aware, they are coming under huge strain to meet the escalated needs of these unprecedented times.
“As one of the UK’s major wine suppliers, we feel it is incumbent on businesses such as ours, where possible, to provide funds for The Drinks Trust. We have made a substantial donation today and urge other businesses to assist if they can.
“We will also, as so many others have done to great effect over many years, look at the various ways we can encourage our team here at Concha y Toro UK to raise money for the Trust from team activities and individual endeavours.”
Heitz Cellar, based in St Helena in the Napa Valley, is doing its bit to support the hospitality industry in the region after wineries, tasting rooms and eateries have been forced to close due to Covid-19.
The winery has committed to paying its staff’s salaries in full indefinitely, and it is also providing relief to the community by donating US$10,000 of beef to local charity partners.
Heitz Cellar president and CEO Carlton McCoy MS said: “There are many families in northern California who are not in the financial position to weather this tremendous storm. Supporting our employees during this difficult time wasn’t a question, and we felt it was our duty to continue being a leader in Napa Valley and to be an example of how our community takes care of its members.”
“In these perilous times, we feel extremely fortunate to prove to our community that Heitz Cellar does not exist simply to produce and sell great wine, but to continue to offer what we believe defines genuine hospitality: selflessness, generosity and humanity.”
Heitz is working with charities Abode Service Napa, The Table Napa and The Salvation Army to donate 500 pounds of beef from Angus cattle from its biodynamic farm to families in need. The beef is usually sold to local restaurants.