James Brindley, managing director of Lion, outlines how the beer giant has helped, and will continue to help, on-premise venues in preparing for re-opening as soon as possible.

There is no doubt that the liquor and hospitality industry will feel the impacts of COVID-19 long after the restrictions are lifted.

Just as breweries cannot flick the switch on production easily, neither can licensed venues just turn off the lights and lock the doors.

Fortunately, with accelerated health and safety measures across our supply chain, we have been able to keep the beer flowing throughout this difficult time, but we know the closure of the on-premise on 23 March will be remembered by many as one of the most difficult days in their career.

On the morning of 23 March, we knew that every pub and bar owner was going to face a horrendous day, and we wanted kegs to be the one thing they didn’t have to worry about, and so Lion announced it would offer a credit for all unused, full and capped kegs, including the cost of freight to send them back to us.

The announcement was naturally very well received, and to date we have credited more than 4,000 venues nearly $23.5 million for approximately 85,000 kegs.

In response to the ATO’s relaxation of excise requirements for repackaging draught beer, we have rolled out 1.25 litre amber bottles, caps, and tap dispensers to venues around Australia to allow them to sell through their remaining draught beer.

It’s a welcome move for patrons who miss a draught beer down at the local, and also means millions of litres of beer won’t go to waste.

We remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can to support licensed venues during this challenging period.

We have also supported pubs with cleaning procedures for their draught beer systems to keep them in working order, ready and able to open up quickly again when the time comes. Our draught quality team has now cleaned 10,000 couplers and taps for our on-premise customers, and this number will keep growing. So committed to the cause, our team has been doing all this vital work from home.

The Support Your Local campaign, led by Lion in partnership with its customers, will hopefully make the road to re-opening a little easier for many in our industry. Our customers across this fantastic industry are really at the heart of everything we do at Lion. We will stand by them now, and we will walk the road to recovery together.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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