One year ago, the taps were turned off and pubs, clubs, bars and hospitality venues across Australia fell silent.
Leading brewer Lion is taking action, declaring Tuesday, 23 March the inaugural ‘National Local Day’ – and encouraging people right across the country to go out and support their ‘local’.
Lion Managing Director James Brindley said he hoped to see National Local Day become an annual event.
“23 March 2020 was the darkest day in history for Australia’s pubs and clubs,” Brindley said.
“Not only was it the first-time pubs and clubs had to shut their doors to their communities – ever, but it was also the first-time major breweries like Castlemaine Perkins and Tooheys have ever had to turn off their keg lines.”
Lion took action. The brewer’s keg return scheme saw it immediately refund more than $30 million for full and unused kegs and it also took out full page advertisements in major newspapers outlets around Australia, encouraging people to “Stay At Home”.
A year on, Lion will do the same but this time, it is encouraging people to do just the opposite to staying at home. Rather, the message is: Get out and support your local on Tuesday, 23 March.
To fund the initiative, Lion will make more than half a million dollars worth of $15 digital Mastercards available which consumers can download via a QR Code in newpapers on Saturday, 20 March.
The digital Mastercard can then be saved into their phone wallet and redeemed when they head to their local bar and purchase any of the state pride Lion brands: Tooheys (NSW), Furphy (VIC), XXXX (QLD), West End (SA), Swan (WA), Boag’s (TAS).
“Lion is declaring 23 March 2021 the inaugural National Local Day – to mark the anniversary of our local pubs and clubs falling silent – and to celebrate the resilience that has kept them going over these past 12 months.”
The initiative has been welcomed and supported by industry groups including the Australian Hotels Association and Clubs New South Wales.
National CEO Stephen Ferguson said:
“That one day last year had a huge impact on the local pub. Hundreds of thousands of hospitality workers were stood down over the following days, weeks and months. Hard-working pub operators lost millions in forward sales – as well as perishables like food, and of course, draught beer.
“Our sector was the first to fully close due to COVID-19, and it is important to remember the impacts are still being felt. State-by-state, it is still a long road ahead for our venues and it’s great to see this support for the local pub.”
The promotion commences on Saturday, 20 March and will run right around the country.