beer sales; Corona beer virus; coronavirus beer promotion

Bars under fire for coronavirus promotions

February 3, 2020
By Alana House

Venues offering discounted Corona have faced backlash on social media for their “disgusting” coronavirus promotions.

Fitzgerald’s Irish Bar in Bunbury, WA, posted a Facebook promotion for an event last Saturday night, February 1, featuring $6 bottles of Corona and free protective face masks.

“There’s been a LOT of talk about Corona and to be honest it’s made us pretty thirsty…” the caption for the promotion reads alongside an image of a Corona beer bottle wearing a face mask.

“We’ve heard Corona is pretty popular at the moment. We’re not sure why though, it’s just beer isn’t it?” the caption added.

The original post, which has since been deleted, also featured a line promising that it would be the “sickest night of the year”, but that version has since been deleted.

Corona beer virus; coronavirus promotions

The post attracted negative attention online, with users commenting “this is too far” and saying it was “disrespectful”. However, others said it was “seriously the best advertising ever!”

It follows a controversial promotion by a bar in New Zealand, which used the coronavirus outbreak to promote a deal on Corona beer alongside the tagline “while the pandemic lasts”.

The offer at Hamilton’s House on Hood was promoted alongside an illustration featuring two men in boiler suits and gas masks holding bottles of the beer.

Corona beer virus; coronavirus promotions

The post sparked more than 500 angry responses – comments on the original post included “Shame on you guys… It’s not funny at all”; “That’s disgusting. I’m so embarrassed right now” and “You wouldn’t run a ‘$6.50 on all Aussie beers for the entire bushfire season’ so why is this okay?!”

The CEO of the company that owns the bar – John Lawrenson of the Lawrenson Group – initially dismissed the furor by saying “thanks to all the snowflakes for the free advertising”.

However, he later told The Spinoff: “I received a phone call from a colleague at Lion Breweries this morning. He said he was concerned about the perception of Lion, as the NZ distributor of Corona, and asked if I would consider taking the post down. He was very polite and explained his concerns logically and so I agreed to change the wording, but said that I would keep running the promotion.”

A spokesperson for Lion later said: “As Corona’s distributor in NZ, Lion wasn’t aware of the promotion and does not condone it. They have since been in touch with the venue and asked that it be discontinued. The post has also been taken down.”

In a statement, Lion also added: “There is no connection whatsoever between the coronavirus and Corona beer. The safety of our consumers is our priority. Corona is brewed under the highest quality standards and is safe to be enjoyed by our consumers. The virus name reference to corona, Latin for crown or halo, is due to the shape of the virus which resembles a royal crown or solar corona.”

Google Trends has revealed a spike in searches for “Coronavirus beer”, “Corona virus beer” and “ Corona beer virus ” among confused drinkers, which has prompted numerous memes and coronavirus promotions.

Constellation Brands, which produces Corona, said wasn’t concerned by the searches.

“We believe, by and large, that consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business,” spokesperson Maggie Bowman told Business Insider.


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