Beverage companies launch $25-m initiative to support community bars
Over 1,800 community bars are set to benefit from the initiative. (Loop file photo)
Red Stripe, part of the Heineken Company, along with Pepsi, Celebration Brands and the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation on Tuesday kicked off a programme dubbed “For our Bars: For Jamaica -Fi Di Bar Dem, Fi Jamaica”.
The programme, which aims to support the recovery of community bars, is a direct response to the unprecedented commercial challenges faced by these bars in particular, due to the restrictions on operations as part of the national COVID-19 guidelines.
The ‘For Our Bars: For Jamaica’ initiative will inject over $25 million dollars of direct support for over 1,800 community bars by way of complimentary cases of Red Stripe and Pepsi product for re-stocking; the provision of masks and sanitizers courtesy of the D&G Foundation; and business-relevant training for bartenders and bar operators.
Following the government’s recent announcement that village retail bars and taverns will now be able to operate with limits on their hours and patrons, the programme launch is well-timed.
In addition to promoting compliance with the health and safety government orders, the initiative seeks to help rebuild the resources and make the bars better equipped for changes in the market and the way people socialize.
The bars, which stand to benefit from this initiative, will have to meet certain criteria for selection.
Luis Prata, Red Stripe’s Managing Director, said, “We know the importance of community bars as social and economic catalysts. These on trade outlets are highly valued partners of Red Stripe and we will indeed dedicate significant time and effort to facilitate a smooth and successful transition to this new normal.”
This, he says is possible through the collaborative engagement with other industry players who have committed their support to the initiative.
Luis Prata, Red Stripe’s Managing Director
According to CBL Managing Director, Edwin Vaquerano, “We are pleased to be a solid partner in the ‘For Our Bars: For Jamaica’ programme. In preparation, we are allocating resources to service these valued customers so that our portfolio of products will be readily available for distribution to this important channel in which consumers all across Jamaica can celebrate and enjoy our brands in a safe, responsible and healthy way.”
Alejandro Sacasa, Pepsicola Jamaica General Manager, commented, "Many of these small and medium sized businesses have been greatly inconvenienced with the halt on commercial activity and many may otherwise remain closed without such an initiative. Many of them still had expenses to pay and people counting on them for social and economic survival. We wish to honour our relationship with these operators who have supported us over the years by giving back in this way."
The training for bar workers that will be on offer through the ‘For Our Bars: For Jamaica’ initiative will serve to heighten awareness on the importance of product quality, improve guest engagement, foster increased revenues and improve bartender confidence.
Executed through the Red Stripe Bar Academy, the Heineken Certified Bar Adviser Programme and the D & G Foundation, the training will include health and sanitation protocols; responsible serving; speed and efficiency; foundations of profitability; the art of great serving and great drinks; food pairing; and pouring and serving beer.
A recent socio-economic impact assessment study established that 3,900 jobs are related to the distribution and sale of Red Stripe beverages.
Further along the value chain, Red Stripe is associated with an additional 1,100 jobs at the suppliers of its direct trade partners.
“We acknowledge community bars as key sources of employment and a critical economic driver. While they are small, community bars play too big a role in our economy to fail. The ultimate goal is to create a coalition of key industry stakeholders to partner with us to ensure the survival of this very important network of small businesses,” said Prata. “Their ability to survive will be the barometer for the national economic recovery.”