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Beam and Tito’s vodka donate $1m amid covid-19 crisis

A number of drinks producers, including Beam Suntory and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, have made huge donations to charities supporting on-trade members affected by coronavirus.

TIto’s Handmade Vodka has promised a donation of US$2 million to support the industry amid covid-19

Together, Maker’s Mark owner Beam Suntory and US distributor Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS) have contributed US$1 million to the USBG Foundation Emergency Assistance Programme and the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

“The people of Beam Suntory and our colleagues at SGWS are passionate about helping support the bartenders, restaurant workers and their families whose lives have been turned upside down by the global pandemic,” said Albert Baladi, president and CEO of Beam Suntory.

“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions. We are proud to support the trade community and their livelihoods, as they are part of our extended Beam Suntory family, and we are fortunate to be part of an industry where so many companies are uniting to assist our communities in this unprecedented battle.”

Wayne Chaplin, CEO of SGWS, added: “We are pleased to partner with Beam Suntory to support the trade community. In a time of great need, it is important to unite efforts to provide the trade with extra resources to ensure everyone ultimately emerges in a position of strength, together.”

In addition, Beam Suntory is working with its other distributors across the US, including Major Brands, Badger Liquor, Fedway Associates, Allied Beverage Group, Empire Distributors, Best Brands, and Horizon Beverage Group, to provide donations to local organisations that will further help support the trade during the pandemic.

Texas-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka has also pledged a US$2m contribution to organisations that are providing aid to those affected by the outbreak.

The vodka brand has made an immediate donation of US$1m to four groups supporting the food and drink sector: the USBG, Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), Southern Smoke Foundation and World Central Kitchen.

Tito’s said it would fund an additional US$1m as it finds “further needs stemming from the covid-19 pandemic”.

‘Support the lifeblood’

Kentucky whiskey producer Michter’s Distillery has teamed up with New York-based spirits consultant and educator Philip Duff to make a joint donation of US$10,000 to the USBG’s charity.

Matt Magliocco, vice president of Michter’s, said: “Amid this unimaginable situation, we are partnering with our friend Philip Duff to support the lifeblood of the beverage industry – hospitality professionals.

“Philip recently did some consulting work for Martí Auténtico, a rum brand owned by our parent company, Chatham Imports. With America’s bars and restaurants now closing suddenly, Philip graciously suggested donating his fee towards the USBG’s critically important Bartender Emergency Assistance Programme.

“We naturally agreed on the spot and have made this donation jointly. We hope this small gesture will make a difference to the USBG Foundation’s vital work to help our many mutual friends in the hospitality business. We’re both committed to supporting the industry for as long as this crisis continues.”

The past week has seen a wave of financial support from drinks producers as the industry faces the coronavirus pandemic.

Bacardi-owned Patrón Tequila has donated US$1m to support charities providing relief for families, individuals and business owners in the hospitality industry.

Jameson Irish whiskeyCampari Group, Diageo and Zamora Company have all pledged substantial amounts of money to support those affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

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