Global leadership – alcohol producers step up to help

Henry Ashworth, President, International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)
Working together against COVID-19:

The world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits producers are helping tackle the global pandemic, as part of a whole-of-society approach.

These are exceptional times and the COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented global challenge of protecting lives while also safeguarding livelihoods and communities. Only a whole-of-society, united, and collaborative approach can deliver an effective global response.

IARD’s members are the world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits producers; they were determined to play their part in supporting global efforts against COVID-19, while maintaining their commitment to the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide that they employ – and the many millions of businesses they support – in the value chain across agriculture, production, distribution, retail, and hospitality sectors.

And so, all our members have used their unique resources and positioning to help tackle COVID-19 globally and support the communities and workers affected by the pandemic, with a wide variety of initiatives[1], including:

  • Supplying over 700 million bottles[2] of hand sanitizer to help address the global shortage
  • Giving over $125 million (£97,219,691) of support for the hospitality industry and its workers
  • Providing more than $40 million (£31,110,301) of additional financial contributions: the majority of this is directed towards healthcare, research, and community relief efforts
  • Taking action on six continents

These initiatives and actions are only possible due to partnerships among public, private, and civil society sectors, which can achieve greater impact than any sector working alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) jointly called on the private sector and national governments to collaborate to fight against COVID-19. And IARD’s members are committed to keep working in partnership to do so: helping protect communities across the world and fight COVID-19, as part of a whole-of-society approach. In particular, they are working in partnership with governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to deliver help where it is most needed.

Also, all IARD’s members are supporting workers in the hospitality industry, many of whom are facing financial hardship and job losses due to the pandemic. The hospitality sector has been among those most severely impacted by shutdowns, yet it has never been more valued or missed.

When cafés, restaurants, and bars around the world suddenly closed, it brought into sharp focus not just how many livelihoods depend on these venues, but also how vital they are to the social fabric and emotional wellbeing of communities. Indeed, a YouGov poll for IARD[3] showed that socializing in bars and restaurants was missed the most during shutdowns, second only to spending time with friends and family.


Now, as many governments across the world allow venues to reopen, IARD’s members are working together with all key partners to rebuild a safe and thriving café, bar, and restaurant culture that can flourish despite the uncertain times we currently face. A whole-of-society response can once again create the thriving, welcoming environment that has been missed by many, and is so important to our social wellbeing.

To help achieve this, our members are working alongside retailers and other business partners to support appropriate physical distancing measures and promote best practices in both responsible service and hygiene as venues reopen.

And, as we eventually emerge from this pandemic, our members will continue constructive dialogue with experts, international organizations, civil society, and national governments to better understand what they can do to raise standards and protect lives, livelihoods, and communities.

However, there is still a long road ahead of us and new sets of challenges are certain to arise. IARD’s members are well-positioned to respond and adapt as needs change because of their global supply chains, strong manufacturing capabilities, and employment potential. They are determined to keep contributing to the fight against COVID-19 and helping protect communities across the world, as part of a whole-of-society approach.

Read more about IARD’s tackling of COVID-19 here.

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing harmful drinking worldwide. It is supported by the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, who have come together for a common purpose: to be part of the solution in combating harmful drinking. To advance this shared mission, IARD works and partners with public sector, civil society, and private stakeholders. For more information on our membership and what we do, please visit

IARD’s members are Anheuser-Busch InBev, Asahi Group Holdings, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Kirin Holdings Company, Molson Coors, Pernod Ricard, and William Grant & Sons

[1] The figures and actions throughout the case study were accurate as of July 31, 2020.

[2] For this calculation, bottle size has been standardized to 250 ml.

[3] 54% of survey respondents missed socializing and dining out at restaurants or bars, second only to socializing with family and friends (64%). Figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 11,678 adults in Australia, South Africa, Mexico, France, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th and 21st May 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all country adults (aged 18+).