Bundaberg Rum has announced substantial support for Australia’s on-premise venues with it’s $11.5 million initiative called ‘Raising the Bar’.

The Raising the Bar fund is part of parent company Diageo’s global commitment of a $100 million investment in on-premise recovery.

Any licensed Australian venue – regardless of whether they stock Bundaberg Rum or other Diageo products or not – can register for assistance through the Raising the Bar fund, with the program rolling out over two years from July 2020.

“Our hospitality industry sits at the heart of our community and Australian culture. The joy of being able to connect with friends and family down at the ‘local’ has been sorely missed throughout this pandemic, while the economic impact on the industry has been unprecedented,” stated Diageo Australia managing director Angus Macpherson.

“Many in the hospitality industry are small businesses that employ thousands across the country and as we start to recover and rebuild, Bundaberg Rum wants to stand by their side and support them in getting back on their feet just like any Australian would do for a mate.”

The fund has been announced to bolster what is a critical industry to the Australian economy. According to BankWest’s report Future of Business: Focus on Hospitality 2018,  Australian bars, pubs, and clubs contributed $17.2 billion in revenue pre-COVID, and employed more than 500,000 people – totalling roughly 8 per cent of the national workforce.

The assistance to venues will be bespoke, depending on their most pressing needs. The support could be manifested by providing anything from physical equipment for re-opening under new social distancing and hygiene regimes, to digital software, to social media and PR assistance. Venues all across the country can apply for support – from a remote country pub, to a CBD small bar.

Government figures and industry bodies alike have welcomed Bundaberg Rum’s Raising the Bar initiative, noting that investment in the industry is critical right now.

In Bundaberg’s home state, the Hon. Cameron Dick MP, Queensland Treasurer said: ‘Bundaberg Rum, through their parent company Diageo, stepped up for Queensland when we needed it most, generously donating 100,000 litres of ethanol to produce hand sanitiser to ensure our front-line workers were kept safe at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Queensland.

‘Once again, Bundaberg Rum has proven their commitment with the ‘Raising the Bar’ recovery fund for Australia’s hospitality sector, which has been so hard hit by the pandemic.”

John Whelan, CEO of AHA NSW, said the fund would help struggling hotels.

“The AHA welcomes this announcement of support for the hospitality industry by Bundaberg Rum and Diageo. Our hotels have been hit hard by this pandemic and the economic impact is going to be felt for a long time to come. Support like the ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative is exactly what we need to help our Australian hotels get back on their feet, employing people and contributing to the Australian economy.”

Karl Schlothauer, president of the Independent Bars Association of New South Wales, was particularly pleased by the indiscriminate nature of the fund.

‘This is great news for our industry and with Bundaberg Rum opening their arms to everyone, customer or not. This will really help operators get back on their feet with the community at the forefront.’

Venues can now register their interest in Bundaberg Rum’s Raising the Bar fund, with more details to emerge about the application process in the coming weeks.

You can view a video on the fund below.

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