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Diageo donates £1m to support GB bartenders

Smirnoff owner Diageo has pledged £1 million (US$1.2m) to aid bartenders across Great Britain affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Smirnoff maker Diageo is helping to pay bartenders’ wages as coronavirus hits the sector

The move was announced yesterday on St Patrick’s Day (17 February) and a similar measure will also be set up in Ireland.

Diageo said the funds will support thousands of bartenders and will help pubs and bars pay their wages.

In addition, the Johnnie Walker owner is offering a free Diageo Bar Academy Training Course, which will provide virtual training and online learning.

The training covers modules such as the ‘business of bartending’ and offers advice on managing quieter trading periods.

Diageo is also providing flexibility on order sizes for its smaller retailers, pubs and bars. Smaller consumers will also be able to manage their inventory and access product more easily “in these challenging circumstances”.

Dayalan Nayager, managing director of Great Britain, Ireland and France at Diageo, said: “The British drinks trade is facing one of its most challenging times ever and we want to help our communities when they need us most.

“We all need to come together to support the trade and I would urge all my fellow drinks producers to do what they can to help our British pubs, bars and retailers and restaurants over the next few months.”

The support follows a similar move by Irish whiskey brand Jameson, which pledged to donate US$500,000 to the charity of the United States Bartenders’ Guild to support on-trade members affected by coronavirus.

On Monday (16 March), the UK government was criticised for urging members of the public to avoid pubs, clubs and social venues during the coronavirus pandemic without sufficient support in place.

More than 46,000 people have signed a petition calling on the UK government to “take responsibility and formally close venues if that is what is actually required, instead of effectively doing so without taking ownership”.

The UK chancellor has guaranteed a £330 billion (US$398bn) support package of loans and grants to help businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

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