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Lion partners with AHA to help pubs sell draught beer

As the Coronavirus shutdown continues to impact pubs and suppliers, around the country, liquor giant Lion and retailers BWS and Dan Murphy’s have stepped up efforts to help these affected.

Lion has partnered with hospitality group, AHA NSW, to launch the Support Your Local campaign that will allow pubs to sell take-away draught beer.

Lion has pledged to deliver 1.25 litre bottles and caps, and dispensers for the taps to fill bottles with draught beer. There are now 10,000 “growlers” and caps, and 500 dispensers being delivered to pubs across NSW for free so that customers can purchase takeaway Tooheys New, Furphy and James Squire.

“Hotels across NSW have been shut for almost a month now and I know many people are missing a draught beer down at their local with mates. We can’t quite do that yet, but a cold draught beer to take-away is certainly next best. Hotels are the hearts of their communities – especially in regional and suburban areas – and the truth is many are struggling to survive with take-away sales the only form of income,” AHA NSW CEO John Whelan said.

Lion recently offered pubs credit for unused kegs when they had to shutdown due to the pandemic. Lion said it credited more than 4000 customers nationally, a total of A$23.5 million for over 85,000 unused and capped kegs.

“On 23 March, we announced immediate support for pubs, in the form of credits for all unused and capped kegs, but we knew many pubs would have tapped kegs sitting in their cool rooms they would still need to get through, and this initiative will make that possible,” Lion managing director James Brindley.

“We have also supported pubs with cleaning procedures for their draught beer systems to keep them in working order, ready and able to open up quickly again when the time comes. Our draught quality team has now cleaned 10,000 couplers and taps for our on-premise customers, and this number will keep growing. So committed to the cause, our team has been doing all this vital work from home.”

Endeavour Drinks has added 2000 new products from small producers to its online and bricks and mortar stores. The company has welcomed over 200 new suppliers, mainly small businesses, to the fold in the last two weeks.

“We have been reaching out and continue to work closely with producers and industry bodies to see how we can provide support to suppliers in these difficult times,” Steve Donohue, managing director of Endeavour Drinks said. “Our success as a business relies on the outstanding products that producers around the country create and supply us with, and it’s important that we do as much as we can to support them during this time of crisis.”

Dan Murphy’s online marketplace, Direct from Supplier, added new liquor brands as well as to the local BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores. The liquor group Independent Brewers Association (IBA), the independent brewers in Australia reported a 69 per cent drop in sales due to the alcohol restrictions.

“The efforts of Endeavour Drinks is paramount for the survival of our industry, especially for our regional members that rely heavily on tourism for their taprooms. The more opportunities we have to get indie beer to Aussie beer drinkers, the better chance we have to recover from this crisis,” said IBA chair Pete Philip.

“With many small wine producers struggling to find a route to market due to huge reductions in cellar door and on-premise sales, these initiatives have provided a survival lifeline for a number of businesses,” Tony Battaglene, chief executive of Australian Grape & Wine, said.

Endeavour Drinks, which owns retailers including BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Cellarmasters, Jimmy Brings and Langton’s, changed its payment policy temporarily to make transactions faster to 14 day payment terms.

“We’ve been excited to see how quickly Endeavour Drinks has responded to the cash flow challenges of our members by reducing trading terms to 14 days which has provided vital liquidity to enable our members to keep trading and focus on the apple harvest for this year,” said Sam Reid, president of Cider Australia and owner of Willie Smiths in Tasmania.

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