Pubs, clubs, venues and pollies around Australia have celebrated National Local Day 2021, an inaugural event that brewer Lion created and hopes will be held every year on March 23.
At midday on March 23, 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.
Little could many parts of Australia have expected to be facing terrible floods exactly 12 months later.
“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,” said Lion Managing Director James Brindley. “We know many venues have been impacted by the floods, and our thoughts are with them.
“Today marks the one year anniversary of the darkest day Australia’s pubs and clubs have ever faced. I hope everyone is planning to enjoy a beer today at their favourite local.”
National Local Day serves as an important reminder that despite venues being open, our hospitality sector is still struggling.
“About 14% 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.”
Brindley (above right) met with AHA CEO Stephen Ferguson, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Michael McCormack, Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese, Member for Reid Dr Fiona Martin and Queensland MP Trevor Evans in Canberra to discuss the occasion and the challenges still facing hospitality and beer sectors.
Lion also handed out $600,000 worth of free beer to pub patrons to celebrate the day via $15 pre-paid Mastercards.
The owner of Bells Hotel in South Melbourne, Sam Tresise, revealed he was overwhelmed by the community spirit shown towards his pub and staff.
“Honestly, there were some days I would go home and cry,” he said. “I could not believe the generosity and care the community had for our team and what we were trying to achieve.
“Many of my peers have done it incredibly tough. 2021 will be a grind and, at best, to get back to where they were two years ago will be a great result.
“It is these people, venues and families that the National Local Day initiative means the most to.”
Here are just a few photos of the National Local Day 2021 celebrations that took place around the country: