Anheuser-Busch InBev today announced several measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a $1 million donation to the U.S. Bartender Emergency Assistance Program and a 50% reimbursement for untapped, out-of-code beer through July 1.
The donation to support restaurant and bar workers who are out of work due to the shutdown of on-premise retail operations across the country in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus disease follows similar efforts by the Boston Beer Company, Molson Coors and Jameson, among others.
In addition to the donation, A-B’s Master Cicerones, brewmasters and other personnel will lead free online educational seminars on beer serving and appreciation. The company also plans to donate more than $1 million to local and regional groups that support on-premise bar and restaurant workers.
The world’s largest beer manufacturer plans to offer its wholesalers a 50% reimbursement for all untapped, out-of-code draft beer through July 1. Additionally, wholesalers can apply the remaining 50% to transportation expenses in 2020, and they will not be responsible for dumping or freight costs related to disposal of the beer. A-B will also provide discounts on packaged product to move the items off shelves in off-premise retailers.
A-B has also extended the shelf-life of its draft beer to 90 days and is extending support to bar and restaurant takeout business through a new growler program.
Other brewers have already announced reimbursement programs, including major producers such as Molson Coors and Constellation Brands, as well as craft breweries such as Boston Beer Company, New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, among others.
In addition to the donation and wholesaler assistance, A-B is redeploying its own-premise workers from its craft brewery taprooms and pubs to other roles within the company, as well as through volunteer efforts for Meals on Wheels and other local organizations.
“Our first priority is our people and at Anheuser-Busch, ‘our people’ includes our employees, our communities and our partners,” Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, said in a release. “Now more than ever we truly are one team and that is why Anheuser-Busch is leveraging our unique capabilities, relationships, and reach to not only support our employees and our communities, but our industry partners because we believe they will need assistance beyond the short-term.”
Two weeks ago, A-B instituted a temporary pay increase for brewery and hour employees of its pubs and field sales reps who are still working on the frontlines.