Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) is launching a new advertising campaign, ‘Ode to the Pub’ to remind people of the special place the local pubs hold in their communities.

While Australians are returning to the pub after two years of lockdowns and capacity restrictions, patronage is still behind pre-pandemic levels, and CUB’s CEO Danny Celoni said the campaign was needed to help pubs bounce back to where they were two years ago.

“This campaign is a small display of our admiration for Australia’s pubs, and the people who make them what they are,” Celoni said.

“About 70 per cent of pubs are family-owned businesses and they’ve been doing it particularly hard during COVID. They are at the centre of our communities and we encourage people to support them.”

The $1m ‘Ode to the Pub’ campaign will launch across digital and social channels and is a rallying cry for people who are missing the pub. The campaign is also a show of support for publicans who are doing it tough.

The 60-second spot shows a montage of old and new photos from pubs. It was first released last year but is being relaunched across the east coast with the new line: “See you at the Pub”.

Australian Hotels Association (NSW) Chief Executive John Whelan welcomed the campaign saying: “After an incredibly difficult two years, we’re delighted New South Wales pubs can now operate restriction free.

“Of course, many hotels still face enormous challenges, including the floods and staff shortages. That’s why we’re thrilled to support CUB’s Ode to the Pub campaign, encouraging people to get back to their local pub – the best place to catch up with family and friends and support local business.”

CUB said that the Omicron variant hit pubs hard in January, with keg sales across Australia down about one-third on January 2020. The easing of lockdowns in February along with mask rules being relaxed saw sales pick up again, with NSW pubs fairing best followed by Victoria and Queensland where sales were hit hardest in January.

The brewer said its classic brews like Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught have bounced back strongest as drinkers seek the comfort of well-known brands which continues a trend that started when the pandemic hit.

The ‘Ode to the Pub’ campaign starts this week and will run for two months.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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