Guinness launches 14 million euro support package for Irish pubs

A 14 million euro support package for pubs and bars across the island of Ireland has been launched by Guinness.

The recovery fund is part of a 100 million US dollar worldwide Raising The Bar programme announced by Guinness’s owners Diageo to support the hospitality industry as it adapts to the post-lockdown era.

In Great Britain, 35 million US dollars (£28 million) is being offered to the industry.

Pubs and bars will be able register their interest in securing financial support from Guinness for equipment to implement social distancing measures in their establishments.

Mariusz Brzyk assistant manager of Paddy Cullen’s pub in Dublin prepares for reopening (Niall Carson/PA)

The Raising The Bar initiative will run for two years.

In Ireland, it will focus on the provision of practical equipment and confidence building measures needed for outlets to reopen and operate on a safe and sustainable basis.

Guinness said it would consult with the on-trade as to how best direct future funding over the two-year period.

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, called on governments around the world to help the trade.

“Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community,” he said.

“We have launched Raising The Bar as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again.

“We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector.

“These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, often providing a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.”

Kegs of Guinness are stacked ready for distribution at the St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Oliver Loomes, managing director of Diageo Ireland, added: “The hospitality sector in Ireland requires long-term investment and support to get back up and running.

“Not only has the financial impact to their business been significant, but they have missed their place at the centre of Ireland’s social fabric.

“Through this 14 million euro Raising The Bar Fund, our ambition is to support pubs in Ireland in welcoming back customers in the safest possible way, when they are ready to do so.

“It is more important than ever to work with our partners to create a safe and sustainable night time economy together.

“This fund is our commitment to the future of the local pub in Ireland.

“It will also be essential for the authorities on this island to work together with our industry to build both a safe and a sustainable hospitality and bar sector”.

One of the pubs that could be in line for support is Paddy Cullen’s in south Dublin.

Mr Brzyk stacks fresh kegs of Guinness at Paddy Cullen’s pub (Niall Carson/PA)

The popular bar has already installed various social distancing measures ahead of reopening.

Assistant manager Mariusz Brzyk said it was hard to know how business would look in a post-lockdown world.

“It’s hard to say, it’s hard to even guess at the moment,” he said.

“I believe people will come back. It will not be the same as it was before but I would really like to see people come back. I have missed it.”

Bar owners across the island of Ireland will be able to register their interest for the Raising the Bar programme via www.mydiageo.com

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