How Jägermeister is helping America's few remaining lesbian bars survive the pandemic

The pandemic has been hard on the restaurant industry in general and particularly tough on bars. Despite a few bars' creative attempts to boost their takeout or delivery business (Fauci Pouchy cocktails, anyone?), as well as finding innovative ways to encourage social distancing once they re-opened, bars are, at their heart, a place where people go to be together. If you just want to drink on your own, after all, it's cheaper to pick up a bottle or a six-pack at your local liquor store.

So, bars are struggling. One particular type of bar, however, is endangered to the point of almost disappearing altogether: the lesbian bar. Despite a widespread social shift towards LGBTQ+ equality, the once-thriving lesbian bar scene where not only lesbians but trans men, non-binary folks, and all manner of marginalized genders could meet in a safe space is now very nearly extinct. According to the Lesbian Bar Project, some 30 years ago there were maybe 200+ lesbian bars throughout the United States. Today? Only 15 that they are aware of — 15 across the entire country. Out of the estimated 59,221 bars in the U.S. (via IBISWorld), just 0.25 percent are bars where there is a focus on making LGBTQ+ people feel comfortable.

In order to do survive, these last 15 bars have partnered together, and even managed to find an unlikely champion. Who'd have ever thought that Jägermeister, a German liqueur more often associated with frat parties, would step up to save our nation's lesbian bars?

Jagermeister wants to #savethenight for lesbian bars

One of the first things that arose from this unlikely partnership was a video (via YouTube) narrated by Lea DeLaria who played Big Boo in Orange Is the New Black. This short video showed just how important these few remaining lesbian bars are to the entire LGBTQ+ community and to all of us who know and love them. In conjunction with the video, Jägermeister is sponsoring a four-week fundraising campaign to collect donations that will help go to keep these last lesbian bars open during these tough times. This is a part of their ongoing #savethenight campaign intended to help bars and nightclubs and those who depend on them to make a living, but is the first such fundraiser specifically aimed at helping lesbian bars.

Marketing Dive notes that the Jägermeister/Lesbian Bar Project collaboration isn't going to end here. They've actually planned to produce a series of videos about the history and influence of lesbian bars in order to raise awareness of this endangered resource before it's too late.