It’s been inspiring to see the Australian drinks industry supporting bushfire relief efforts during the tragic crisis that has engulfed the country.
From the on-premise to the off-premise, suppliers and distributors, so many organisations are pulling together to help those in need.
Lion has just announced a suite of bushfire relief initiatives totalling $1 million.
Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said: “We have a very large footprint as a major brewer and dairy and drinks producer – touching countless townships and regions across the country.
“Our beers flow in the pubs and clubs that are truly at the heart of these communities, and it is absolutely devastating to see so many of these places ravaged by fires.”
Click here to read how the brewer is collaborating with fellow industry members including AHA NSW, Merivale, Australian Venue Co and ALM/IBA.
CUB has also pledged to raise $1million for affected communities, kicking off with a $250,000 donation to help the relief effort. Additionally, the brewer has donated 80,000 cans of drinking water to the NSW relief effort.
CEO Peter Filipovic said: “CUB is fully committed to supporting regional Australian communities, just like they’ve always supported us.”
Diageo, through its Bundaberg Rum brand, is donating $500,000 to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund.
A spokesperson for Diageo said: “Having experienced two devastating fires at our Bundaberg Rum Distillery in our history, we’re acutely aware that the road to recovery is long and impacted communities need our help today, tomorrow and well into the future.”
Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes has donated $500,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service to kick start the company’s fundraiser.
“Last weekend I witnessed first-hand the brave efforts of our firefighters as they worked around the clock to protect the communities in Berrara and Narooma,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Hemmes described the firefighters as “miracle workers” and urged the public to donate as much as they can.
“They’re superheroes that aren’t wearing capes. When you’re on the ground and you hear the water bombers and the choppers coming, it’s like a Godsend. It’s a precision operation. They’re miracle workers. They work tirelessly putting out fires. You rarely get to see superheroes but this is them.
Merivale noted on social media: “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these horrific and unprecedented bushfires. Our beautiful country is in flames – the loss of human life, wildlife, homes and bushland is unfathomable.
“Please join us in donating to RFS and help us add another $500,000 to reach our $1million target. To the brave firefighters who continue to risk their lives in extreme and terrifying conditions – thank you. You are all heroes. Australia is forever in your debt.”
The owners of the Solotel Group, the Solomon Family, along with Matt Moran are supporting Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis through a series of donations and in-venue fundraising opportunities, launching from Friday 10 January.
Bruce, Elliot and Anna Solomon along with Matt are pledging a donation of $10,000 per venue, totalling $280,000 that will go directly towards the Rural Fire Services within each venues’ respective NSW and QLD states.
Solotel’s pubs and bars are hosting a Bushfire Relief Hour on Friday 17 January, with all proceeds from food and beverages sold between 5 – 7pm on the day being donated directly towards the bushfire appeal.
Participating venues will span 21 bars and pubs across Sydney including Darlo Bar, Goros, Green Park Hotel, Kings Cross Hotel, Opera Bar, Paddo Inn, Public House Petersham, Smoke and House Bar at Barangaroo House, The Albion, The Bank, The Bridgeview Hotel, The Clock, The Courthouse Hotel, The Edinburgh Castle Hotel, The Erko, The Golden Sheaf, The Marly, The Regent, The Sackville and Quay Bar as well as South Brisbane’s Little Big House.
James Packer’s family and Crown Resorts have donated $4 million to bushfire relief charities, on top of $1 million pledged by the Crown Resorts Foundation and the Packer Family Foundation in November. The latest donation will see the Packers contribute another $1.5 million while Crown will donate $2.5 million. It is the single largest contribution that has been made public to date.
The Salvation Army has acknowledged the “significant efforts” of Woolworths in making sure essential supplies have been available at its evacuation centres.
Topher Holland, The Salvation Army’s Emergency and Disaster Management Lead, said Woolworths “have been amazing across the board.”
Half a million dollars has been pledged by the Woolworths Group, including Dan Murphy’s, to support The Salvation Army Australia Disaster Appeal and those affected by the devastating bushfires.
Donations can be made in any Dan Murphy’s store or Woolworths checkout to help support local communities in need.
Last week, CEO Brad Banducci also announced: “The ferocity of this year’s bushfire season has been visible to us all, and has tragically taken the life of one of our own team.
“Against the backdrop of our busiest time of the year, a number of our team have been serving as volunteers in rural fire brigades across Australia.
“In support of their community spirit, and with the inevitability of more challenges in the weeks and months ahead, we have made the decision to extend paid leave entitlements for our enterprise agreement team members volunteering in the rural fire services.”
Coles has said thank you to volunteer firefighters for keeping our rural communities safe by donating more than $3 million in gift cards to over 6000 rural fire brigades across Australia.
The Coles gift cards are being provided to rural fire brigades across the nation so they can run a thank you event with their members or stock up supplies of food and essentials for their stations for the fire season.
Coles Group Chief Executive Steven Cain said providing gift cards was a tangible way Coles could recognise and thank firefighters and volunteers working tirelessly throughout the year to save homes, businesses and communities.
“We want to acknowledge the amazing courage and dedication of volunteer firefighters who continually put their hand up to protect their communities at all times of the year,” he said.
This donation from Coles is in addition to the money being collected in Coles stores which is being donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
Metcash has been delivering pallets of water to our hardworking fire fighters.
The company noted on LinkedIn: “We can’t thank them enough for everything that they do.”
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Amatil is donating at least 250,000 bottles of water and Powerade to assist bushfire emergency crews and families in disaster recovery centres or being evacuated from fire zones in NSW, South Australia and Victoria.
The bottles of water and Powerade – totalling 10,400 cases – are being delivered to Foodbank, Australian Defence Force units and air ambulance services for distribution to those in need. Delivery started last week and will be completed today.
Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil Australia, Peter West said: “The loss of lives and homes in these fires is heartbreaking.
“Business has a role to play in emergency situations, alongside government and others in the community.
“Bottling and distribution are our strengths, so we think can play an effective role with donations of water and other beverages to displaced families and those on the front line.
“Many of our own team are also volunteer firefighters and Defence Reserves, and we’re looking after them with paid leave and personal support.”
West said Amatil had also established a Matched Giving Appeal with the Salvation Army, to match employee donations for bushfire recovery.
“Water donations and matched giving are a step forward, but there’s more to be done,” West said.
“We’ll continue working with governments and communities on further support as recovery operations roll out.”
The donation is in addition to water and soft drinks donated by Coca-Cola Amatil in late 2019, including Southern NSW emergency services (45 cases), Kulnura RFS (30 cases), Maclean Red Cross (60 cases), Port Macquarie, Grafton and Glen Innes evacuation centres (2160 cases) and Casino RFS (170 cases).
Kollaras & Co assisted NRL commentator Allana Ferguson and her family with their initiative to raise more $65,000, along with 88 pallets of tangible donations, for those who need it most. Kollaras offered dedicated warehouse space and staff to help sort donations. Over 1000 emergency supply packs with food, sanitary items, medical supplies and water have now been delivered to victims and firefighters via boat and police escort. In the coming days, 4 semi trailers will arrive to pick up the remaining stock.
The company noted on LinkedIn: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and we owe a huge thank you to those who have dropped everything to help – it is nothing short of humbling and an experience our business will never forget.”
A Treasury Wine Estates working group banded together to help pack supplies for Animal Aid in Coldstream Hills to support the displaced animals affected by the bushfires.
The company has also committed financial donations to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and the South Australian State Emergency Relief Fund.
Asahi Beverages posted on LinkedIn: “We salute all those who are working tirelessly fighting the horrendous bush fires and providing emergency relief to those affected. We are assisting through the donation of water and other non-alcohol beverages via our partner Foodbank, as well as via the various Fire Services, the Australian Defence Force and local charities.
“Our national donations are being centrally co-ordinated to ensure we can get product to those in need as quickly as possible. Our heartfelt sympathies to all affected by these ongoing catastrophies.”
The on-premise is also doing its bit.
Among the many contributions, Blacktown Workers Club Group CEO Frank Raiti announced a donation to the NSW Rural Fire Service of $56,434.
“This unusual amount represents a $1 donation on behalf of our 56,434 loyal Club members,” he stated. “On behalf of our Board of Directors, management and staff, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these unprecedented disastrous bush fires.”
All 15 Australian Venue Co pubs, including The Winery, Cargo, Untied, Kingsley’s Woolloomooloo and Bungalow 8, are donating $1 for every schooner and $2 for every pint of Furphy sold across its NSW venues to the National Bushfire Disaster Appeal. The drive runs until Saturday February 1.
Melbourne hospitality group, Made in the Shade has coordinated a fundraising event for the ongoing bushfire crisis, to be hosted at their flagship bar, The Everleigh on Monday, January 13.
The group’s owner/operators, Michael and Zara Madrusan have rallied 16 iconic Melbourne bars and three of the country’s top chefs including Ben Shewry, Andrew McConnell, and Pete Gunn to collaborate for one night, with all proceeds raised on the night going to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery. The proceeds will continue to support with emergency assistance, first aid, and psychological support to the communities most severely affected by the bushfire crisis.
Zara said: “We spent the Christmas break, as so many did, thinking about what we could do to contribute to the relief effort. The hospitality industry is fantastic at working together to get things done, and we’re all used to moving fast.”
Michael added “I reached out to hospitality owner friends with the initial idea and within minutes we had 16 venues confirmed.”
Melbourne’s participating venues who will join The Everleigh, Bar Margaux and Heartbreaker, include Byrdi, Eau de Vie, Black Pearl, Above Board, Capitano, Bar Liberty, Whisky & Alement, The Elysian Whisky Bar, Bad Frankie, Union Electric, Fancy Free and The Lincoln. The team behind Carlton institution, The Beaufort (which is now closed) will make a comeback, especially for the cause.