Six drinks companies based in Ireland have called on the Government to provide urgent clarity on the reopening of indoor hospitality.
The group also said today that now is the time for a clear and comprehensive hospitality plan, which extends beyond opening indoor spaces with restrictions, to provide certainty for the hospitality sector and its suppliers in the medium term.
What They Said
Barry O’Sullivan, managing director of Diageo Ireland said, “Drinks manufacturers and suppliers put in weeks of preparation into every reopening, including brewing, line cleaning and restocking and face significant costs and disruption every time it is postponed at the last minute."
"Companies like Diageo have also delivered multi-million euro investment programmes to help bars, pubs and restaurants create safe controlled indoor settings for socialising. The Government must now provide a clear, workable and fair pathway for indoor hospitality to reopen on 19th July,” he added.
Maarten Schuurman, managing director of Heineken Ireland said, “As a business that operates around the world, the drinks sector here along with Heineken Ireland, has significant international expertise and experience on how other countries have successfully reopened indoor hospitality in a safe and sustained way. Ireland is now the only country in the EU with no indoor hospitality, despite the rate of vaccinations now above 50%. We welcome the resumption of industry and Government talks on Thursday and urge swift clarity on reopening.”
Ryan McFarland, regional business director, Western Europe, of Molson Coors Beverage Company commented, “The continued delays to reopening are hugely damaging to jobs and livelihoods right across the sector. While the opening of outdoor spaces provided some relief, many businesses were banking on the July 5th reopening of indoor hospitality, only to be disappointed once again. The sector and its suppliers now need urgent clarity.”
Claire Tolan, MD Ireland, Irish Distillers highlighted, “In addition to getting clarity on the reopening of indoor hospitality, the development of a clear and comprehensive plan for this sector, which extends beyond opening indoor spaces with restrictions, is required. While indoor hospitality should be opened safely in the short term, we need a roadmap back to a hospitality experience with fewer and then, in time, no restrictions. This includes the reopening of other spaces, like music venues. This is essential for the wider recovery of the sector.”
Pat Rigney managing director and founder at The Shed Distillery, Drumshanbo added, “For smaller rural producers, the pub is a vital space for consumers to try our brands, sometimes for the first time, with the help of experienced wait staff."
"The closure of indoor venues impacts the staff in those businesses, but also the wider business eco-system, including small indigenous Irish food and drinks producers who rely on the Irish pub to validate their brands for introduction to international markets,” he said.
Andy O'Hara, CEO, Edward Dillon & Co. Ltd said, “The continuous changing of reopening dates, always at extremely short notice, is having a very detrimental effect on business."
Many of the issues, uncertainties and increased costs are quite hidden – such as supply chain issues, staff deployment, marketing investment levels, and so on. Certainty is now required to plan effectively to mitigate against the severe difficulties facing business in these challenging times,” he added.