Guinness has donated £30m towards keeping pubs, bars and restaurants supported and open during the 2021 Christmas period.
The Diageo-owned drinks brand selected 22 pubs nationwide to 'light up' with festive light displays including the Lock Tavern in Camden, the Queens Vault in Cardiff and the Pickled Sprout in Harrogate.
The Guinness Raising the Bar programme has supported more than 30,000 publicans and their 500,000 staff throughout the UK to weather the impact of the pandemic. The fund has provided financial support, social distancing equipment, PPE and pub necessities, as well as one-on-one training sessions with the staff.
With pubs facing another challenging festive period ahead, Guinness aims to continue to provide financial support, staff training and equipment to help operators weather the impact of cancellation rates, currently at 10% (UKHospitality, 2021) as well as other factors.
Neil Shah, head of Guinness GB, said, "The past 18 months has been incredibly tough for the hospitality industry, so we want to do all that we can to make sure Guinness supports locals. We want to celebrate pubs as the beating heart of our communities where people can come together with their mates over a pint of Guinness in the run up to Christmas. We will be underpinning this with our Guinness Raising the Bar programme, which has already helped a huge number of establishments during the pandemic – we will continue to support the industry through the fund and other means."
As well as funding for the hospitality sector, the newly created Guinness Pub Choir who are starring in the latest advert this Christmas, performing a specially composed performance of the classic ‘Always on my Mind' features 30 publicans and bar staff in celebration of the role local pubs play in bringing communities together and helping friends and families connect in the run up to Christmas.
Patrick Frawley, pub landlord for the Lock Tavern (pictured below), said: "It's been a difficult time for us due to Covid limiting people coming through our doors and ordering pints. We feel so lucky to have been chosen to have our pub lit up with these fantastic displays and we're hopeful our lights will encourage our community to visit us over the festive season. All are welcome!"