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Diageo to launch $100m fund to help bars recover

Smirnoff owner Diageo has pledged US$100 million to help bars and pubs worldwide recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Smirnoff owner Diageo has pledged US$100m to help bars around the world recover from the pandemic

The two-year Raising the Bar programme will launch in July in a bid to support the on-trade as it reopens following global lockdown measures introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US$100m funding will be used to support venues in New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, São Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney, and beyond. The money includes the US$20m Community Fund announced in the US this month (June).

Raising the Bar came about following a global survey of bar owners in a bid to understand their needs for reopening post-lockdown. Top priorities included hygiene measures, digital support and practical equipment to change how their venues operate.

Bar owners can register their interest in the Raising the Bar programme online at

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said: “Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community. We have launched Raising the Bar as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again.

“We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector. These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, which provide a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.”

Last month, Diageo also put forward AU$1.2m (US$825,000) to help its on-trade partners reopen across Australia. The ‘Welcome Back’ support package will provide 130,000 free serves to bar partners, as well as help with PR and marketing, to help boost revenues as the pandemic continues.

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