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How suppliers are helping pubs reopen after COVID-19 shutdown

June 4, 2020
By Alana House

It’s been a challenging time for the Australian on-premise trade during the COVID-19 shutdown, with hundreds of thousands of hospitality staff stood down and an $8.5billion fall in revenue for the sector.

As Australian Hotels Association SA head Ian Horne told The Adelaide Advertiser: “We’ve survived world wars and the Great Depression, but this is probably the single biggest social and economic challenge the hotel industry’s ever faced.”

Suppliers are rallying to help their on-premise partners get back to business. Here are just a few of the latest initiatives:

Andrew Clarke

Accolade Wines has launched a support package called “Your Venue, Our Shout” to help the Australian hospitality industry get back on its feet after shutdown.

The on-premise initiative will see Accolade Wines replace, as complimentary stock, their portfolio of wines sold across venues in the first month from re-opening.

Andrew Clarke (above), Accolade Wines Regional Managing Director – ANZP said: “We are all aware of how COVID-19 has impacted the hospitality industry across Australia. It has been an extremely challenging time and even though venues are beginning to re-open, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future.

“Your Venue, Our Shout is Accolade Wines’ way of showing support to our valued on-premise customers and lending a helping hand to get back on their feet and return to usual trading as quickly as possible.”

More than 350 venues have taken up Accolade’s support package already.

“With some states still opening up, we expect this number to grow rapidly over coming weeks,” Clarke said.

CUB pubs reopening ceremony

CUB recently announced that it is doubling its fundraising target for the ‘For the Love of Your Local’ campaign to $2million. The initiative involves Aussies visiting loveofyourlocal.com.au and buying a pint of CUB beer using their credit card or PayPal account, with the cash going directly to their favourite local.

When patrons redeem their beer voucher, CUB matches the purchase with a free beer, meaning people get two pints for the price of one.

CUB CEO Peter Filipovic (above) said: “Australian pubs and clubs have already been shut for two months and the fact is many of these beloved venues won’t make it through this crisis without extra help. So, we’re calling on Australians to help save their local and get free beer in the process.”

CUB has also launched The Pub Reopening Ceremony (pictured above), a pub crawl that will travel to pubs across the country delivering free kegs and entertainment to help support them as they re-open.

Lion announced within hours of shutdown on March 23 that it would credit venues for their unused kegs. Since pubs venues closed down, it has paid nearly $25 million back in the accounts of pubs, clubs and bars around the country.

Lion MD James Brindley said: “We have helped pubs keep their draught beer systems clean and working with our draught quality system team working from home cleaning nearly 15,000 taps and couplers for our customers, ready for re-opening,” he added.


“Our draught quality team is extremely dedicated to our customers and ensuring their equipment is clean and fit for purpose. They collected the equipment from venues shortly after they were forced to close and have worked through the cleaning of this vital equipment from home.

“We want to ensure pub, club, restaurant and bar patrons around Australia have the best quality draught beer possible when they return to venues over the coming days, weeks and months.

“The reality is that the industry is going to take a long time to recover and we will be there every step of the way and we will continue to work with our customers to understand how Lion can best support them over the weeks and months ahead.”

Lion has also been sending free kegs to pubs in regional areas to help them get back on their feet.

Samuel Smith & Son said it is committed to supporting the industry in making a strong and sustainable recovery following the shutdown

Paul Midolo, Director – Strategy & Trading, revealed: “There are a number of initiatives we are currently undertaking in order to support our friends and colleagues in the industry. These range from revenue generation support to the provision of promotional mechanics, list printing and design and access to our category insights program.

“We understand that there are a lot of moving parts to how venues are trying to re-open and want to make sure that our initiatives have the flexibility in order to support that.”

Chris Shaw Diageo

Diageo has launched a nationwide ‘Welcome Back’ support package for the on-premise, designed to help rebuild the Australian bar industry.

Valued at $1.2 million, the support package will provide 130,000 free serves to venue partners across the country in bonus stock, and PR and marketing support to help enable bars to reopen and drive revenue in line with the current trading conditions.

Chris Shaw, Diageo Australia Commercial Director (above), said: “This has been a challenging time for all of us but our pubs, bars, restaurants and hospitality venues, many of them small businesses that employ thousands across the country, have been particularly hard hit over the last few months. As we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel and our on-premise partners slowly re-open, Diageo Australia is backing them when they need it most.”

Bennelong - Diageo

“This multifaceted support package will include trade deals, bonus stock that will equate to Diageo shouting them 130,000 standard drinks, and PR and marketing amplification for venues. This means a $1.2 million injection into our participating on-premise partners as they start to get back on their feet and welcome the return of patrons to their favourite venues.”

Diageo also announced it has partnered with TheFork to offer its booking platform to eligible venues for free until December 31, 2020.

Pernod Ricard is continuing its ‘Meals 4 Mates’ initiative that provides $25 Deliveroo meal vouchers to impacted hospitality staff across the Eastern seaboard (VIC, NSW & QLD). More than 4000 vouchers have been provided to date.

To encourage patrons back to venues, it is also planning a number of ‘welcome back’ support packages for customers across its brands. These include offers amplified through social media, including stock support, social media support (boosting posts, paid advertorials), point of sale, staff training and incentives.

Treasury Wine Estates is working on bespoke plans with each customer to deliver positive outcomes during the reopening period. 

“We understand that re-entry into the post COVID world is different for each venue, and our focus has been to maintain our sales force in full-time work to ensure the individual needs of our customers are met,” said Tom Gerlach – Head of On Premise.

“We have bolstered our design studio to deliver revised POS and wine lists in multiple new formats (ie single use, digital, large format wall displays and mobile friendly).”

Asahi Beverages

Asahi Premium Beverages has developed the Open Arms Program to support customers.

The $1million program features a series of support initiatives designed to help venues reopen, recover and regrow.

Asahi’s technical teams have been assisting with the cleaning and recommissioning of equipment and its sales teams have been prioritising deliveries for initial openings. Additionally, the Open Arms Program includes a range of other initiatives including activation and stock support to assist with driving revenue.

Asahi’s social media partner Tiger Pistol is also helping venues bring consumers back through communications using social media channels and detailing how venues will be operating in the current environment.

“Our number one goal in all of this mayhem is to ensure our actions and efforts, as a partner to the industry, are resolute in making life easier in some small way for our valued customers,” said John Kelly, National On Premise Group Business Manager, Asahi Premium Beverages.

Taylors Wines

Taylors Wines has followed up its national campaign to support local venues (localnightin.com.au) with its national sales team offering a helping hand by helping venues access discounts, offers and bonus cases to help venues restock their wine suppliers.

Venues have the option to access a range of discounts across Taylors Wines’ portfolio, with no minimum order to make it easier for venues to manage cash flow. Taylors is also provided venue support by offering bonus cases when they list a Taylors Wine by the glass. Other venue support tools on offer include staff training, POS material, and merchandise (like aprons, ice buckets and menu chalkboards). Taylors is also providing venues the opportunity to access virtual wine tastings for their consumers or staff training.

To take part in this support package, venues are encouraged to reach out to Taylors Wines on 1800 804 295 or contact their local area manager.

Coopers Brewery is putting more than 15,000 beers on its tab to support Australian pubs as they recover from the COVID-19 lockdown.

As restrictions are lifted across the country, the brewery will be shouting rounds of Pale Ale at 335 metropolitan and country venues over the coming weeks.

“We want to encourage communities to get out and support their local pub,” Coopers Brewery Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper said.

“Pubs have been doing it extremely tough over these past months. These are often family run small businesses employing dedicated and hardworking local people.

“As a family business ourselves, we understand the enormous pressure this places on everyone involved in a pub, from the owners to the staff and suppliers.

Katherine Johnstone ALM

At a ground roots level, execs from Drinks Association Member companies have even been giving up their weekends to help pubs prepare to reopen their doors.

ALM General Manager Katherine Johnstone (above), for example, helped the Red Lion Hotel in Sydney’s Rozelle get a fresh coat of paint.

Get in touch if your company is launching any initiatives. We would love to share the news. Contact our Communications Manager Alana House on alanah@drinks.asn.au