McConaughey encourages bartenders to have ‘fortitude’
Actor and Wild Turkey creative director Matthew McConaughey is encouraging bartenders to have the “patience and the fortitude” to keep going during the pandemic, reminding everyone that at some point “it’s going to end”.
Dallas Buyers Club and Interstellar actor McConaughey and Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell hosted a media roundtable discussion over Zoom on Monday (16 November) to celebrate the launch of the Bourbon brand’s latest campaign, With Thanks – Local Legends.
During a Q&A discussion, The Spirits Business asked what advice both McConaughey and Russell have for on-trade professionals who are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
McConaughey said: “Look, for a lot of people it’s not a time where many people are thriving; most people are just trying to survive and keep their head above water. And that’s taken resilience already but it’s going to take more.
“And [if] many of you can just have the patience and the fortitude to just try and keep your head above water because it’s going to end. It’s going to end and we’re going to be all re-engaging, and there’s going to be a consensus that we can re-engage and get back to the bars and the hospitality business.
“And that’ll come; it’s just going to take a little while longer I think to do it the right way, but it is coming, so just remember that; it helps us get out of bed a little bit quicker, a little bit easier.”
Russell also highlighted the importance of lobbying for to-go cocktails in the US, and how supporting bars offering takeaway cocktails can make a big difference.
“Before this happened, the bar industry was just growing leaps and bounds, especially with our Bourbon industry and the cool drinks, the whole classic drinks they were making,” Russell said. “I went and got to-go drinks, and I didn’t need to, but you want to keep [the bars] going because it’s been very hard for all of them.
“You’ve just got to hang tight. It’ll come, you’ve just got to keep the faith that if you can get those to-go drinks, that’s a little money coming in at least.”
Russell added: “Everybody will be wanting to go to their favourite bar to have a drink, I can guarantee that. I’d love to be able to sit down at a nice bar and have a drink, we’re all missing it, so it will eventually come back around.”
With Thanks – Local Legends
For this year’s With Thanks campaign, McConaughey surprised four ‘local legends’ with a virtual chat and rewarded them with a personalised token of appreciation. All four videos can be viewed on the Wild Turkey Instagram page: @wildturkey.
As part of the global campaign, Wild Turkey and McConaughey also gave thanks to UK charity The Drinks Trust, which works to provide care and support to people in the drinks trade and former members of the industry with vocational, practical, emotional and financial support.
In 2020, The Drinks Trust has helped more than 4,000 people who have found themselves in financial hardship, up 400% compared with 2019.
McConaughey told The Spirits Business: “The Drinks Trust shares our mission to support our community and our industry, so this was an easy choice for Wild Turkey in terms of partners for With Thanks in the UK. As you know, every year we aim to shine a light on organisations and partners that share our core values and beliefs, and Drinks Trust is one of those groups.
“They’ve played a key role in sustaining businesses and morale throughout the challenges of 2020. They adapted and used knowledge and experience, while staying focused on providing great services and care so we want to express our gratitude. This is why we call them local legends.
“As we aim to build equity and create an annual global wave with our With Thanks programme, we also would like to remind our friends and collaborators struggling that we will get through this, we need to support our bars as much as we can in the interim with actions and programmes like the ones Drinks Trust advocates for, and we are proud to support their actions.”