Lion has declared March 23 to be National Local Day, marking one year since taps were turned off at pubs, clubs, bars and hospitality venues across Australia due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
The brewer is encouraging people across the country to go out and support their local during the inaugural day, noting its a time to celebrate our pubs and clubs “and the people who make them great”. It comes as many operators are yet to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and will see Lion inject more than half a million dollars into pubs and clubs across Australia through a consumer promotion launching later in the month.
National Local Day will build on Lion’s support for venues impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, including its keg return scheme, which saw the brewer immediately refund more than $30 million for full and unused kegs as part of its “Support Your Local” campaign.
Lion’s Draught Quality team also contacted on-premise customers to offer cleaning procedures for their draught beer systems to keep them in working order and ready for when the green light was given to open again. The team cleaned more than 10,000 couplers and taps while working from home.
Lion Managing Director James Brindley (above) said: “March 23, 2020 was the darkest day in history for Australia’s pubs and clubs.
“Not only was it the first-time pubs and clubs had to shut their doors to their communities – ever, but it was also the first-time major breweries like Castlemaine Perkins and Tooheys have ever had to turn off their keg lines.
“Lion is declaring March 23, 2021 the inaugural National Local Day – to mark the anniversary of our local pubs and clubs falling silent – and to celebrate the resilience that has kept them going over these past 12 months.
“We should never take these venues – and the invaluable role they play in bringing Australian communities together – for granted.”
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 also 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!”