A newly created $11.5 million Bundaberg Rum ‘Raising the Bar’ fund will help pubs across the nation get back on their feet after battling through the toughest period in the industry’s history.
AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson said the fund, announced today by Diageo, was designed to support Australia’s pubs as they rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ferguson said any licensed venue in Australia, whether they are regional or metro, and regardless of whether they sell Diageo products, can apply for support, as part of a two-year program rolling out from July 2020.
Ferguson said the fund was tremendous news for the Australian hotel industry which is going through its most difficult period in living memory.
“Support like the ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative is exactly what we need to help our Australian hotels get back on their feet, employing people and contributing to the Australian economy,” he said.
“It’s just the shot in the arm that we need.”
Ferguson said the pandemic showed just how important pubs are to their communities.
“Meeting friends and catching up for a drink, a meal, or to watch a game at the local was something we took for granted. But once this was taken away we really saw how important pubs are to the social fabric of our communities.”
The announcement is part of a broader commitment by Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo to invest US$100 million globally in ‘Raising the Bar’ programs.
“Our hospitality industry sits at the heart of our community and Australian culture," Diageo Australia managing director Angus Macpherson said.
The joy of being able to connect with friends and family down at the ‘local’ has been sorely missed throughout this pandemic, while the economic impact on the industry has been unprecedented.”
From 24 June 2020, venue operators can register their interest for ‘Raising the Bar’ funding via http://www.diageobaracademy.com.