Lion will take back untapped kegs from venues and refund the cost, as the big brewers attempt to help venues navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following major restrictions on social gatherings by the Australian federal government and mandatory pub and hotel closures, the venue industry is under major strain.
Lion’s national sales director Mark Powell acknowledged that it was an “extremely distressing time” and that the business wanted to work quickly to help its on-premise customers.
As part of this, Lion will take back unused kegs at no cost of charge and will credit the money back into their bank accounts. For safety reasons, kegs should be full and capped.
Lion asked for patience in the industry, as it may take some time to collect the kegs.
The announcement comes following the closure of all pubs and hotels as of today (Monday 23rd March). However bottle shops have been permitted to remain open, according to PM Scott Morrison.
Big brewers response to COVID-19
Lion’s breweries remain fully operational, it said in a statement, and the brewer is committed to continuity of supply.
CUB also announced that its breweries are operational, including the Abbotsford Brewery in Melbourne, Yatala Brewery outside Brisbane and Hobart’s Cascade Brewery, as well as all of its craft breweries.
Despite it being seemingly business as usual, CUB warned that if breweries are included in a widespread shutdown, there may be lag time in being able to supply beer to the market again.
Julian Sheezel, vice president of Corporate Affairs at CUB, said that there may be no beer available in Australia for three months if beer is not given an exempt status, calling into question the security of “tens of thousands” of jobs.
“Any Government decision to shut down liquor supplies would be nonsensical. Most liquor is sold through Coles and Woolworths companies. The liquor stores are usually adjacent to or in the same shopping precinct as the supermarkets, and use the same delivery providers.
“You can’t turn major breweries off and then quickly turn them back on. After re-opening there could be 3 months of no beer for pubs and bottleshops.
“The UK and other countries have kept retail and takeaway alcohol. We urge Australian Governments to do the same,” he said.
Lion also jumped on board, saying that the UK, US and EU have all kept retail and takeaway liquor operating, along with the supply chains behind them, as the brewers attempt to head off any government attempts to close the industry down.
To process a full keg pick-up and credit request, customers can email Lion Connect on [email protected] with the keg quantity, best before date, keg number/s and venue account number.