With Melbourne in lockdown and the city’s bars and venues hit with their second closure of the year, now more than ever they all need your support.

Many have been able to pivot their businesses and, thankfully, can still offer takeaway and delivery services, but this can also have its own challenges. The team at Made in the Shade group set up The Everleigh Bottling Co. five years ago, and is now using that business to help some of the city’s bars with the Melbourne Mixtape cocktail pack.

The pack is a selection of bottled cocktails from seven of Melbourne’s best cocktail bars, and it is available to buy now, nationally, through The Everleigh Bottling Co. website.

Made in the Shade Director, Zara Madursan, told The Shout: “Everyone’s asking what they can do to support the Melbourne industry right now; what they can do to ensure their favourite bars make it to the other side of this.

“The unfortunate reality is that with prolonged closures under Stage Four, these venues must find alternative ways of continuing to make revenue in order to have a hope of surviving. The rent and many overheads are still there, the government assistance is minimal and the grants are few and far between, what these businesses need is money.

“While the Melbourne bars are already working hard to shift their offering to a delivery model, many are doing so with limited resources and a small team, not to mention local delivery partners still asking for 15 per cent commission. We know first-hand that it’s a tough slog for a marginal return.”

As the second lockdown hit, Madrusan explained that the Made in the Shade team realised there was an opportunity to help some of Melbourne’s other bars.

“Having been in the market since 2015, The Everleigh Bottling Co. is already set up for online sales and national distribution,” she said.

“We saw the uptake in sales for our own products as we entered the second lockdown, and put together a campaign called #TogetherinSpirits, encouraging people to order a drink for a friend and a drink for them, to enjoy virtually, together.

“It hit me that the flip side of this campaign was bringing the local industry together, to come together to amplify the message that we’re all trying to communicate individually, that Melbourne hospitality needs Australia’s help.

“By uniting seven of Melbourne’s best cocktail bars, we hope to express a shared need for support, from an industry that works so hard to cater for, and serve others.”

That saw the Melbourne Mixtape created. The mix pack contains seven bottled cocktails, each priced at $18, with all the money from each sale, going to each bar.

Madrusan added: “It’s such an incredible line up – a one of a kind set of amazing drinks, with every dollar going directly back to the bars involved.”

The seven venues involved are Above Board, Bar Americano, Black Pearl, Byrdi, Capitano, Mjolner and The Everleigh.

Black Pearl Director, Tash Conte, told The Shout: “Hospitality has been hit hard from the beginning of this pandemic. The restrictions have either closed venues or restricted them so severely that they are not able to operate.

“Pivoting to take away and delivery is the only lifeline we have. This revenue stream is keeping Melbourne’s plethora of amazing venues alive and engaged with their patrons. It is aiding in keeping business’ teams together mentally and physically in preparation for the other side.”

In terms of the drink the bar has created for the pack, Conte added: “Our cocktail is the Shower Martini, complete with a shower cap. It is a part of our ‘Cocktails on the couch’ range. It’s a serious cocktail with a twist of fun, it’s delicious.”

Conte also called on Australia to back the Mixtape initiative: “Share your love across Melbourne’s finest offerings. Bars and restaurants well-known or not, we are all in the same boat, we all need to get back to business.”

Luke Whearty – Co-owner at Byrdi, told The Shout: “The cocktail we are providing for the Melbourne mixtape is our Wattleseed Negroni which is a combination of Australian gin, vermouth and bitters cold vacuum infused with native Australian Wattleseed.

“It ticks all the boxes of a classic Negroni which people know and love but sticks to the ethos of Byrdi by using exclusively Australian products.”

He added: “The Melbourne mixtape is an amazing idea by the by Michael, Zara and the Made in the Shade crew and reinforces the fact that we are much stronger together than we are apart.

“It’s exactly creative community driven ideas like this that will see us all get to the other side together. This really is a great opportunity for people to support the bars they love at a time when they need it the most.”

Madrusan also told The Shout about the cocktail they included in the pack, saying: “Our drink inclusion is the Coffee House – Mr Black Coffee Liqueur, tequila and orange bitters. A riff on the classic with the same name, that uses rye whiskey.

“We first bottled the Coffee House when we opened Heartbreaker back in 2015, as we wanted to serve a coffee cocktail over the bar that had a little more punch, and rock n roll edge about it than your average Espresso Martini.

“It remains The Everleigh Bottling Co.’s first and only bottled tequila cocktail, a bit of a wild card among our more classic drinks. These are wild times, so we thought it a good suit.”

She added: “We do hope to see the nation get behind the initiative, knowing that they made a difference to each of these world class venues at their time of need.”

At The Shout we couldn’t agree more, this is a great idea and an awesome way for everyone outside of Victoria to do their bit for these amazing venues who are doing it tough right now.

You can order your Melbourne Mixtape pack, from The Everleigh Bottling Co website now.

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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