Earlier this week Lion announced that it would buy back any unused and untapped kegs, after venues were forced to close in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The move has proved hugely popular with the brewer receiving over 10,000 requests amounting to over 60,000 kegs. National Sales Director Mark Powell told TheShout that Lion was moving to process the credits as quickly as possible and asked venues to be patient as they work out the logistics for retrieving the kegs.
“We are very good at delivering kegs,” Powell said, “but it’s very hard to collect.
“I spoke to James [Brindley] on Monday morning and said we were going to get bombarded with requests about what are we going to do with the kegs. So we decided then to offer everyone a full refund for any unopened or non-date expired kegs.
“We knew that every on-premise customer was going to be facing a horrendous day and we just thought this would be one less for them to have to worry about, we felt it was simply the right thing to do.”
He added: “The focus now is to get the credit processed for them and we are by-passing our usual collection process, which would be to process the credit after the stock is returned. So we are processing the credits first and will work to get the kegs returned at a later point.”
Powell told TheShout Lion really wanted to do what they could to help venues with their cashflow at this difficult time, and admitted this would impact Lion’s own cashflow, adding, “there is also a cost for bringing all the beer back in too, but we are going to wear that.
“We feel our on-premise customers have basically been king-hit and this is our bit to try and contribute back to all those customers who have been fabulous supporters for us and this is our opportunity to return that support to them.”
And do to the sheer scale of the logistics facing the brewer in processing the credits and bringing the kegs back, Powell said they are working through it as quickly as possible and to please try and be patient.
“We sent a message out to everyone to say we will process the credit first, and so be patient while we work through the logistics, because we have got time to do that. So please leave it as is, we are working out the reverse logistics. We are also focusing on making sure off-premise customers are fully stocked, so when that settles down, we’ll start bringing the kegs back in.
“We have had 10,000 service requests totalling around 60,000 kegs that we are looking to bring back in. It is big numbers, but the on-premise is taking the full brunt of this crisis.”
Powell also said that it was crucial that venues remembered to clean their beer lines properly to make sure there was no bacteria in the lines when it comes to re-opening. TheShout reported this on Wednesday – Make sure you shut down your beer lines properly.