#WeChoose to Trade Responsibly and #WeChoose to Drink Responsibly

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Diageo South Africa has assisted more than 400 on-premise establishments, including bars, taverns and restaurants to rebuild their businesses after the Covid-19 lockdowns. A total of R200 million in stock replenishments, cash and marketing support, has been given, as well as the beginning of a new movement to promote responsible drinking.

The #WeChoose campaign, launched by Diageo in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town on 01 March 2021, aims to help rebuild on-premise establishments, hit by repeated lockdowns totalling many months of closure or very restricted trade hours. “We want to see businesses thrive again and people to be able to come together, but we aim to do this responsibly in terms of both trading safely and consuming responsibly,” said Diageo SA’s Marketing Director, Zizwe Vundla.

“The country’s extended alcohol bans have heavily impacted businesses and the families behind them not to mention the wider supply chain, and millions in lost taxes. Many small businesses have not survived, and jobs have been lost, causing people to slide into poverty.

“By providing stock injections, formal on-premise outlets can use the revenue generated to help get their establishment back up and running – such as renewing liquor licences and replenishing other stock. Many of these outlets have exhausted their funds during lockdown and are unable to purchase stock to reopen. So this is the difference between reopening and not.”

Each outlet chosen will receive stock of up to R6 000, depending on their size.

In addition, Diageo SA is providing marketing support to help generate publicity for on-premise outlets. “Many consumers might have forgotten their favourite local places during lockdown, so we are helping to remind them, while at the same time encouraging responsible drinking.”

Diageo will provide the chosen liquor traders with retail and ‘Business of Bars’ tender training, menu design and production, branded collateral – such as umbrellas and glassware and small-scale activations to help them drive their volumes, “all of which will be in-line with Covid-19 regulations, helping to ensure customer safety”

Issues such as underage drinking, binge drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol will be tackled as part of the campaign.

Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurant Association of South Africa said many restaurants had closed their doors because they could not trade through the restrictions. “It is imperative that all parts of industry come together – the consumer needs to play their part and the public needs to take responsibility – not only in the restaurant sector, but in public drinking in completion.”

Lucky Ntimane, Convenor: The National Liquor Traders Council added that the lockdown restrictions have been dire for 34 000 taverns which had about 250 000 jobs linked to them. ”Liquor traders must take a leading role in promoting the responsible consumption of alcohol.”

Diageo is calling on consumers and traders to remain vigilant about observing Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

”Diageo’s goal is an alcohol-safe South Africa and not an alcohol-free one. We truly believe that if properly and healthily regulated, the alcohol industry can be a positive force for South Africa”, concluded Zizwe Vundla

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