Protecting pubs, supporting communities and 1.3m litres of hand sanitiser – the drink sector responds to COVID-19

An industry report from the Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, with case studies from across the sector, highlights collective efforts to support communities over lockdown.

Drinks companies offered financial assistance to bartenders and other workers whose livelihoods had been impacted by the lockdown, including a ‘virtual tip jar’ and a ‘lost shift’ competition. The Drinks Trust provided direct frontline support to sector workers including well-being seminars and a 24-hour helpline staffed by clinically trained psychologists.

Despite lockdown leading to more people drinking at home, an analysis of 31 polls found 3 in 4 [77%] of UK adults drink drank the same or less than they did before the lockdown started in February 20201. The lockdown saw an acceleration in people buying more expensive drinks, 70% of premium brands grew their market share compared to 2019. (Kantar 2020) There was also a 30% increase in the supermarket sales of low and no alcohol drinks. (Nielsen 2020)

Commenting on the publication of the report, Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, said:

“It’s been a terrible year for the hospitality sector. Yet from the smallest pub on the corner to the largest producer we all rolled up our sleeves and did our bit to help our communities during the pandemic.

“It is also encouraging to see a significant majority of people continued to drink responsibly during the lockdown. Consumers turned to buying more low alcohol products and higher premium drinks accelerating trends already present in the market.”

The report comes as a cross-sector review and includes casestudies from social enterprises like ClubSoda, charities such as Drinkaware, and member bodies such as the Scotch Whisky Association, British Beer and Pub Association and the Campaign for Real Ale.

For more information, please visit: https://www.portmangroup/covid-19