Ask for help: industry resources for covid-19 pandemic

23rd March, 2020 by Melita Kiely

The spirits industry is facing its most challenging time. To help workers across the hospitality sector during the coronavirus pandemic, The Spirits Business has compiled a list of resources offering up-to-date advice and support.

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The covid-19 pandemic has affected the hospitality industry on a global scale. Below are some resources offering help and advice for industry professionals during the pandemic

The on-trade has been hugely impacted by the covid-19 outbreak. Last week, UK prime minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of all pubs, bars and restaurants from Saturday 21 March to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

To support business owners during this period of closure and employees who will be out of work, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the coronavirus job retention scheme, which will see the UK government pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 (US$2,900) per month.

In the US, multiple states have also closed bars and restaurants for the foreseeable in a bid to slow the spread of covid-19 and protect both workers and consumers from the virus.

Meanwhile, as of midday today (23 March), Australia’s on-trade establishments were also ordered to shut down amid coronavirus concerns.

While there is understandable worry and uncertainty across the industry, there are a number of resources and support to help those within the sector through the pandemic. From financial help, to health advice, we’ve outlined some of the key sites and organisations if you need to seek help and advice.

For health updates, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NHS websites can offer the best advice.

Have we missed a key organisation off the list? Please let us know in the comments and we will continue to update this article in the coming weeks.

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Feeling lost? These are some useful resources that can offer guidance during the pandemic

Wine and Spirit Trade Association

The trade body is providing regular updates to the ongoing changes the pandemic brings, and is lobbying the UK government to provide the utmost support for the spirits industry.

UK Hospitality

Representing the nation’s hospitality sector, the trade organisation has already proved instrumental in securing government support for the industry.

Scotch Whisky Association

The trade association provides regularly updated information for Scotch whisky distilleries during the current coronavirus outbreak, and is regularly applying pressure to the UK government to support the industry.

The Drinks Trust

Industry charity The Drinks Trust, formerly known as The Benevolent, launched a campaign last week to raise money to support the sector during the coronavirus outbreak. The charity offers financial support to those working across the drinks industry, in any position.

Hospitality Action and Tipjar

UK charity Hospitality Action partnered with cashless tipping platform Tipjar last week to raise money for on-trade workers, as part of its Hospitality Workers Emergency Fund. People can donate directly to industry workers in need in their local area.

Licensed Trade Charity

For any professionals with health, money or other concerns, the Licensed Trade Charity offers a free helpline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivering professional advice. There is also detailed information on who’s eligible for, and how to apply for, short-term hardship grants, plus advice on financial support with rent or mortgage interest arrears. Mental health is also imperative – professionals can access help through the website 24/7 as well.

Spirits Europe

The trade body said it stands ready to “collaborate with our members, with our policy makers, with tourism and hospitality representatives and other partners in our supply chains to get these sectors moving again, and do our part for a better, stronger, responsible, sustainable, vibrant Europe”.

Distilled Spirits Council of the US

The US trade body has assured the industry “we are in this together”. The organisation’s website offers updated information in light of the coronavirus outbreak, and is regularly lobbying the US government to support the sector.

American Distilling Institute

‘The voice of craft distilling’ is offering updated information about coronavirus and the craft distilling industry, including a list of those producers making hand sanitiser.

USBG National Charity Foundation

The organisation is raising funds for its Covid-19 Relief Campaign to boost its Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. The charity is working to ensure that “our bartenders can go back to serving drinks once this is over”.

Diageo’s free industry information phone line

The Johnnie Walker owner has launched a free information phone line to support licensed business owners during the pandemic. Set up in partnership with business and financial advisor Grant Thornton UK, the phone line will allow business owners to access information regarding the commercial measures announced by the UK government. The phone line is available to call for free on 0207 728 2556. Enquiries via email can also be sent to

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