How Guinness Is Trying To Save Bars Worldwide

Booze has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic if you're talking about take-home sales, but the alcohol industry overall has suffered losses due to the closures of restaurants and bars (via Nielsen). This probably explains why the people who bring you Guinness, Hennessy, Tanqueray, and Smirnoff — among other well-known brands — are investing $100 million into reviving pubs and bars around the world, in a program called "Raising the Bar."

"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," said Ivan Menezes, CEO of the alcohol conglomerate Diageo. "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."

Diageo's aim is to help rescue some of the millions of jobs around the world that COVID-19 has disrupted. Hospitality businesses and young workers have been hit especially hard, the Diageo press release said, adding their program aims to help bars reopen their doors safely.

To get the money, bars must help their communities

The $100 million will help pay for the types of things bar and pub owners need to reopen in a world that's still afflicted with COVID-19. These supplies include hand-sanitizer dispensers, gloves and masks, digital upgrades for cashless payments and reservations, and equipment for outdoor service. (Outdoor dining and drinking is somewhat safer than congregating indoors, according to experts interviewed by The Kansas City Star.) The money will go to selected establishments in major hospitality centers around the world, in cities such as London, New York, Dublin, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Sydney.

If the makers of Guinness are going to "raise the bar" for your favorite watering hole, then the establishment needs to "raise the bar" itself. In other words, to qualify for the funding, bars must do one of the following, according to Diageo: promote inclusion and diversity, promote positive drinking and harm reduction, focus on sustainability or community support, or provide skills training — especially for disadvantaged groups.