Industry comes together for bushfire relief

09 January, 2020 by Andy Young

In times of need and crisis the great Aussie spirit always shines through to demonstrate what a resourceful and caring country this is.

That spirit is being demonstrated in spades as the country is gripped by a bushfire crisis which has claimed lives, homes, businesses, livestock and vast swathes of land.

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The liquor and hospitality industry is one of many to have shown its generous nature with suppliers, producers, venues and individuals giving time, money and resources to help those who are most in need.

Lion has pledged $1m across a suite of bushfire relief initiatives with CEO Stuart Irvine saying that the company was committed to doing its bit to support recovery efforts in impacted regions.

“We have a very large footprint as a major brewer and dairy and drinks producer – touching countless townships and regions across the country,” Irvine said.

“Our beers flow in the pubs and clubs that are truly at the heart of these communities, and it is absolutely devastating to see so many of these places ravaged by fires.

“Similarly, our farmers and growers have felt the worst of the drought for many months now – and to add these fires to the adversity they continue to face is hard to fathom.”

Fellow brewer Carlton & United Breweries is also donating $1m, which again will be split over a number of initiatives.

CEO Peter Filipovic said: “Distressingly, many of our fellow Australians have been affected by the devastating bushfires. The toll on many communities is unimaginable.

“Carlton & United Breweries is committed to helping the relief effort by raising more than $1 million for affected communities. This starts with a $250,000 donation to help the bushfire response.

“CUB is fully committed to supporting regional Australian communities, just like they’ve always supported us.”

Diageo, through its Bundaberg Rum brand, is donating $500,000 to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund.

A spokesperson for Diageo said: “Having experienced two devastating fires at our Bundaberg Rum Distillery in our history, we’re acutely aware that the road to recovery is long and impacted communities need our help today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

Kollaras & Co has also helped the relief effort, after a campaign on the south coast by NRL commentator Allana Ferguson raised more than $65,000 as well as 95 pallets of donations including 10+ generators.

In order to help this campaign Kollaras & Co donated space at their facility to store the donations and staff to help sort them. Within 48 hours, over 1000 emergency supply packs with food, sanitary items, medical supplies and water were delivered to victims and firefighters via boat and police escort.

Managing Director, John Kollaras, told National Liquor News: “We did not hesitate to support the Ferguson family’s mission to help those in dire need, however we could not have anticipated what was to follow.

“The sense of community and generosity of the Australian public has been nothing short of remarkable.

“Our hearts remain with those affected, and like all Australians, we express our gratitude for the brave firefighters who work tirelessly to protect our beautiful country.

“One thing is clear – the Aussie spirit will always prevail.”

Coopers is also backing a range of initiatives to support the national bushfire recovery efforts.

Melanie Cooper, Coopers Brewery Director and Chair of the Coopers Brewery Foundation, told National Liquor News: “This includes financial donations from the company as well as from individual members of the Cooper family.

“The Coopers Brewery Foundation is also matching personal donations from staff while the brewery is providing free beer for various fire services, communities and fundraisers across affected areas.

“Everyone at Coopers is keen to support those in need right across Australia at this tragic time.”

Sydney-based distillery Archie Rose has said that over the coming months it will support distilleries who have been hit by the bushfires including Joadja Distillery, Wildbrumby Distillery, Redd & Co Distillery and Vinteloper.

As well as also donating stock to support fundraising initiatives the distiller is also donating $1 from every gin and tonic it serves in its bar during January to Wires, NSW RFS and the Australian Red Cross.

Coca-Cola Amatil is donating at least 250,000 bottles of water and Powerade to assist bushfire emergency crews and families in disaster recovery centres or being evacuated from fire zones in NSW, South Australia and Victoria.

Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil Australia, Mr Peter West said: “The loss of lives and homes in these fires is heartbreaking. Business has a role to play in emergency situations, alongside government and others in the community.”

National Liquor News’ sister title Bars and Clubs also reported earlier this week on how bars around the country are helping raise funds to support bushfire relief.