At midday on 23 March 2020, Australia’s 12,000 bars, pubs and clubs turned off their taps, stood down more than 400,000 staff and shut their doors due to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.
Leading brewer Lion has declared Tuesday 23 March the inaugural ‘National Local Day’ – designed to encourage patrons to support their ‘local’ and to remind Australians the hospitality sector still has a long road back.
Lion Managing Director James Brindley said it was the darkest day in history for Australia’s pubs and clubs.
“One year on from the most devastating day our industry has ever seen, it’s hard to believe many parts of the country are now experiencing yet another natural disaster.
“We know many venues have been impacted by the floods, and our thoughts are with them.
“After pubs and clubs closed their doors last March, we refunded $30 million for unused kegs and tipped the equivalent of 11 million schooners.”
National Local Day serves as an important reminder that despite venues being open, our hospitality sector is still struggling.
“About 14 per cent of our hospitality customers are still yet to re-open, with many being in the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne,” Brindley added.
“Sales of draught beer were heavily impacted and continue to be impacted.”
Australian Hotels Association National CEO Stephen Ferguson said ‘National Local Day’ was a timely reminder for Australians to get out and support their local.
“That one day last year had a huge impact on the local pub,” Ferguson said.
“Hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers were stood down over the following days, weeks and months. Hard-working pub operators lost millions in forward sales – as well as perishables like food, and of course, draught beer.
“Our sector was the first to fully close due to COVID-19, and it is important to remember the impacts are still being felt.
“State-by-state, it is still a long road ahead for our venues and it’s great to see this support for the local pub.”
CEO of ClubsNSW Josh Landis welcomed the launch of National Local Day.
“This is a fantastic initiative from Lion. It’s been an incredibly difficult 12 months for the industry, so the timing of National Local Day couldn’t be better,” Landis said.
“Our clubs go above and beyond to support their local communities and this campaign is a great way for those communities to show their appreciation – and enjoy a beer while they’re at it!”
Media & Communications Manager, Lion
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