Through this time of unprecedented uncertainty in the hospitality industry, liquor stores have fortunately been allowed to keep trading. And with so many hospitality workers having found themselves unemployed over the past week, this is how one Sydney retailer has decided to step up and help out.

Mike Bennie, the Co-founder of P&V Wine + Liquor in Newtown, says that he feels fortunate that they have been able to continue trading. But after seeing the impact that the closure of pubs and bars was having, he and business partner Lou Dowling “immediately went into our default of trying to support our local community”.

With a large proportion of Australians now practicing self-isolation, P&V has seen a huge increase in online orders and contactless delivery. As such, they’ve needed to employ more delivery drivers, and to do this; they’ve looked to displaced workers in the hospitality community.

“For us as a business there has been a huge increase in online and delivery and that’s why we’ve had the ability to roster on these hospitality orphans,” says Bennie.

“It’s spread like wildfire through the hospitality networks hearing that we’re collating a roster of those who are unemployed and interested in some driving work

“We’re creating a rotating pool of people who we can draw on to sustain those driving roles and also as we’re increasingly reliant on warehouse and stock holdings, we’re trying to get some other hands in the mix to help out with whatever stock movement requirements we might have.”

P&V has also been partnering with bars to help facilitate the sale and delivery of pre-batched cocktails.

“You’ll see us co-mingling with PS40, with Mary’s Group and a couple of other small bars who of course are now allowed by legislation to sell and delivery pre-batched cocktails. But their web presence and ability to retail through their web presence isn’t quite at the same reach as us, so we’re collaborating with them to get the message out and help them turn over some stock.

“We’re also switching up the flavour of our EDMs and doing featured six-packs with importers and wholesalers, particularly those who deal with wine in an artisan nature because their captive audience of restaurants are all closed. So we’re trying to promote and raise awareness about the importers and wholesalers who are most greatly affected by this downturn.

“We’re doing a range of things to keep balls in the air for a variety of people who are affected.”

If you’re a retailer and would like to share how you’re adapting to get through these challenging times then I would love to hear from you. Please reach out to Deb Jackson on

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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