Bacardi is joining the increasing number of high-production industries that are switching up their production practices in an effort to help fight the coronavirus pandemic by converting eight of their distilleries across the world to begin the production of hand sanitizer, which they plan to pass out to local communities. Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, and Bacardi Rum are just some of the distilleries that now have plans to start producing up to 1.1 million liters of hand sanitizer. Distilleries in Puerto Rico, Jacksonville Florida, Tultitlán Mexico, Cognac Franc, Hampshire England, Pessione Italy, Aberfeldy Scotland, and Louisville Kentucky will pass out gallons of hand sanitizer to their respective communities, which includes offering it to pharmacies, hospitals, emergency medical workers, USPS, law enforcement, firefighters, and nearby manufacturers.
In addition to the hand sanitizer, Bacardi Limited is also launching a support initiative for bars and restaurants that have been affected by the coronavirus shutdowns entitled #RaiseYour Spirits, where they plan to pledge $3 million in financial aid to the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars all across the world are some of the hardest-hit businesses during the current coronavirus pandemic, as social distancing ordinances in cities worldwide require them to close if they’re unable to offer takeout, essentially killing any sit-down establishment’s business model.
Some states, like California, are relaxing regulations and allowing bars to offer cocktails to go which is a step in the right direction. Still, Eddie Navarette, the founder of restaurant consulting firm FE Design and Consulting tells Eater, “This will not save the hospitality community by any means. Under the circumstances of being forced to close their o-site experience; it is an incremental benefit yet allows operators to step up their creativity on takeout. The problem is this regulatory relief… does not supersede any local approvals, any of which restrict hours of operation and prohibit off-site sales of alcoholic beverages. As such, many restaurants… will be unable to benefit from their relief until their local authorities act.”
It’s going to take more than a shot in the arm from Bacardi and some relaxed regulations to save our beloved bar scenes, but it’s a start. Meanwhile, big brands making hand sanitizer during this scary time is a win for all of us.