Last orders called, but Diageo keeps wages and hand sanitiser flowing

COVID-19: Our members taking responsible business action

The last pint has been poured while the battle against COVID-19 continues, but drinks giant and Business in the Community member Diageo have continued to support bartenders across the UK by setting up a fund for wages. They have also pledged to help keep hand sanitiser flowing for frontline healthcare workers by donating vast amounts of alcohol as the key ingredient. 

Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them. This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo

Drink trade helped by a suite of measures

Diageo announced a suite of measures to help support the British drinks trade as it faces unprecedented challenges from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

While the usual St Patrick’s Day festivities were cancelled, Diageo-owned Guinness pledged £1,000,000 to support bartenders across Great Britain. Thousands of bartenders will be able to benefit from the £1,000,000 fund intended for pubs and bars to put towards bartenders’ wages. A similar community fund has been set up in Ireland.

Support for smaller retailers

Diageo is also helping to support smaller retailers, pubs and bars up and down the country by providing flexibility on order size and allowing smaller customers to manage their inventory in this fast-moving situation.

Dayalan Nayager – managing director Great Britain, Ireland and France at Diageo said: “We all need to come together to support the trade and I would urge all my fellow drinks producers to do what they can to help our British pubs, bars and retailers and restaurants over the next few months.”

Eight million bottles of sanitiser

This week, Diageo also pledged to enable the creation of more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser, by donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners, to help protect frontline healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

The world’s leading distiller will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in the production of vodka and gin – and make it available at no cost to hand sanitiser producers in multiple countries, to help overcome shortages in healthcare systems. This donation will enable the production of more than eight million 250ml bottles of hand sanitiser. 

Engaging national and local governments

Diageo continues to engage with national and local governments across the many countries where the company has major distilling operations. The spirit will be made available in supply chains according to local circumstances, working with the relevant authorities and hand sanitiser manufacturers. This will ensure the donation is used for maximum impact in protecting health workers and patients and that sanitiser reaches the frontline as quickly as possible.

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo said: “Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them. This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

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