26/10/20 – Products / Beverages / Gin / Spirits / Hospitality / Covid / UK
New gin created during lockdown to raise funds for the UK hospitality industry
A new not-for-profit gin brand – Hospitality Gin – has been created to support the UK hospitality industry throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The hospitality industry has been among the hardest sectors to be hit by the pandemic, with just 11 per cent of businesses able to operate normally during lockdown.
All profits of the new Hospitality Gin brand are to benefit the UK’s hospitality industry and its workers via The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action, with plans to set up a dedicated fund to that end.
When Covid-19 began to affect the hospitality industry in the UK, Tom Lord – an industry veteran based in Sheffield – set out to create a not-for-profit spirit to help. The result is a London dry gin perfect for simple serves, that also supports hospitality workers that have lost their livelihoods.
Strife of the UK’s third largest sector
The wider hospitality industry employs more than three million workers in the UK, making it the third-largest industry in the country. It raised £39 billion in taxation in 2017, according to ONS data. During lockdown, just 11 per cent of hospitality businesses were able to operate normally, according to UKHospitality.
More recently, the UK government has implemented a potentially devastating 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. A #CANCELTHECURFEW campaign has since been set up, but the need to support the industry is greater than ever.
Working fast to provide assistance as soon as possible, Mr Lord ordered the first bottles of Hospitality Gin just two weeks after having the idea. He teamed up with Cooper King Distillery in North Yorkshire, and set up a crowdfunder in mid-May to sell the initial bottles. Within weeks he’d sold out of the initial batch, followed by a second. Hospitality Gin is now on its third batch, with wider availability via various wholesalers and bars.
The supportive spirit
“I’d been looking for ways to help the people that needed it most when the idea for Hospitality Gin hit me. I’d been advising as many people as possible on the best next steps for their personal situations, but at the end of the day, I’m not an employment lawyer,” Mr Lord remarked.
“Most important was a managing a quick turnaround time to get the money to those who needed it as quickly as possible. That and having a cracking gin, of course!” he added.
The main recipients of proceeds from Hospitality Gin are The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action, although other causes are considered too, and Mr Lord intends to set up a dedicated fund. Between them, The Drinks Trust and Hospitality Action have given over £750,000 in grants to hospitality staff who have lost out due to COVID-19.
The pandemic affected Mr Lord from the outset. He had been working on two potential businesses, and received a small business loan just before lockdown. As he’d not left his previous job yet, he was eligible to be furloughed, but was all too aware of how the situation was affecting his industry.
“I went from working on two businesses to being unable to work. It was a frustrating time. Luckily I had a small business loan land just before the pandemic hit.”
Mr Lord is one of the admins of Facebook group Sheffield Bartending Community, which has over 4,500 members. When Covid-19 hit, he not only helped to disseminate information to this community, but brought together admins of other similar groups in the UK.
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