With drinks festivals across the country postponed, distilleries switching production from spirits to hand sanitiser, pubs and restaurants closed nationwide and up to 1 million jobs at risk, these are unprecedented and worrying times for the UK’s hospitality industry. Whether you need a stiff drink yourself, or want to do your bit to support those that make them, here are a few ways to raise everyone’s spirits during the Coronavirus crisis.
Let’s face it, the Amazons and Tescos of this world are going to do pretty well out of panic-buying and self-isolation. Buying a bottle (or two) of gin is still the best thing you can do to support many distilleries but you’ll help them even more by purchasing it direct from the distillery where possible. And at the moment you’ll find many distilleries are offering discounts and free delivery to encourage you to do just that. Small independent retailers also need your support and one of the finest, Gin Kiosk, is offering 20% off products from a selection of the small, independent distillers who are likely to suffer the most in these challenging times. While you’re there, don’t forget you can stock up on tonic water and mixers too!
Cocktails To Go
You may not be able to go to the bar anymore, but more and more bars (and restaurants) are able to come to you with a huge growth in delivery and take-away drinks services. Check out Deliveroo/Uber Eats/your delivery service of choice to see what’s on offer around you or, if you’re in London, Gin Monkey has done all the hard work for you!
Pay Now Redeem Later
Of course what so many businesses need now more than ever is cold hard cash, so you could also consider buying a voucher now for a tour or tasting to be enjoyed at a later date. Next week (from Monday 23rd March) Gin Journey are offering an incredible 50% off all their gift vouchers (using the code ‘ginjourney’), meaning you can join a London Gin Journey for £35, Manchester or Brighton for £30 and Liverpool, Leeds or Chester for just £25.
The Virtual Happy Hour
If it’s your mates you’re missing, catch up with them online – and support your favourite bar in the process – by taking part in The Virtual Happy Hour. The concept is pretty simple; get a group of friends together via an online platform, share a drink and have a good old chinwag. When you’re done, everyone in the group sends a donation, equivalent to the price of a drink, to the group leader. The leader phones/emails/DMs their local bar or restaurant to donate the funds you raised. Finally, shout about it on social media using #TheVirtualHappyHour to help spread the word.
Donate to Charity
From emergency funds and HR advice, to training support and mental health care, there are a number of initiatives helping hospitality workers through these tough times. Hospitality Action are raising funds to make one-off awards to eligible workers suddenly facing hardship. You can donate here or check out Imbibe for a comprehensive list of other charities helping the hospitality industry.
Alternatively, donate £20 (or more) to The Drinks Trust and in return you will receive a unique code to order a complimentary case of 12 Light Sipsmith G&Ts in a tin from their website. I believe this is known as a win-win situation!
Don’t have money to spare yourself at the moment but still want to do your bit to help your favourite brands? Why not take part in #GinADayMay this year to share and shout about the best of the best? Of course I have to declare an interest here, having created #GinADayMay myself, but marketing really is an expensive investment for many small businesses, so they genuinely appreciate it when people do it for them for free. Obviously any time is a good time to get online but #GinADayMay offers a hashtag with increased visibility and exposure, so hopefully your message will reach a larger audience than usual. And it’s a lot of fun too, even if I do say so myself!
Got any other great ideas to support our favourite industry at the moment? Please get in touch or comment below.