Industry is jointly facing the challenges related to COVID-19

The economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for the alcohol industry are hard to estimate, but HoReCa sector staff will certainly be severely affected. The lockdown of restaurants, hotels and bars can translate into the loss of jobs for thousands of people. These people will not, however, be left without support – the alcohol industry is now jointly facing the pandemic and taking up a number of actions to alleviate its effects for the most threatened sectors and to make it possible for them to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Larger alcohol companies are now focusing on supporting hospitality sector and retail trade in order to help them get through these hard times and return to the level of consumption and sales from before the outbreak of the epidemy.

Big players are concerned about small companies  

One of the giants of the alcohol industry, Diageo, has recently announced a number of initiatives to support the hospitality sector at the time of the pandemic. The Guinness brand, belonging to Diageo, will allocate one milion pounds to cover the salaries of bartenders working in British pubs and bars. Diageo has also launched an online free training course Diageo Bar Academy, open to anyone who works in the industry.

In addition, this concern is going to suport smaller companies by making order volumes more flexible which will be of key importance to the management of their money flows while making stocks easily accessible.  

Similarly, Bacardi brand has established a business relationship with an online delivery platform Deliveroo in order to suport bars and restaurants locked down due to the pandemic. Thanks to an investment worth GBP1.5m, a virtual bar will be launched - #RaiseYourSpirits – via which more than 120 venues from London and Manchester will be able to sell and deliver cocktails to their local customers.  

Steve Young, Bacardi sales director in the UK and Ireland, said: „Our relations with bars and bartenders across the UK are very important for us, and as we are all facing the same challenges, we are going to do anything we can to provide our support to those who need it most. We will continue our support until the day when they can open their doors again, and maybe longer. We are in it together.”

Financial support and training courses  

Some companies have decided to support financially their staff members. Scottish distilleries Tobermory, Deanston and Bunnahabhain announced that they would allocate 10% of the value of whisky sales to support employees in the hotel and restaurant industries across the country. A portion of whisky sale revenues will be shared with a Scottish charity organization, The Ben, and it will be allocated to support alcohol and hospitality industry employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

British organization, The Drinks Trust, has established a special fund which is intended to financially help alcohol industry employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Those who meet some criteria will receive a once-off subsidy from the fund amounting to GBP250, paid directly to their bank accounts. It is intended to help especially those with health issues and guardians of children, elderly or handicapped people.

Industry staff are also encouraged to develop their skills at the time of stoppage. Trade organization UK Hospitality has established a free e-learning platform for HoReCa sector employees. It is intended to support and develop the venues which have been locked down as a result of the pandemic. They can use free-of-charge training courses which will not only help them return to work with a new set of skills, but also get through this difficult time providing psychological and coaching support.

The above examples show that the alcohol industry understands the interdependencies between the individual companies. At the time of the crisis, an effective flow of resources to those sectors which need them most will allow the industry to live through the crisis and come back to normal without long term adverse consequences.   

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