These include extending additional credit to support publicans’ businesses and in particular the retention of bar staff through this period. Payment terms are to be extended by up to two weeks for direct customers and in the coming weeks Diageo will need access to all outlets to complete line cleaning so as to ensure that when this situation passes publicans are able to pour Guinness from day One.
In a letter sent to the trade recently Diageo’s On-Trade Director Colin Greene explained, “We appreciate that the licensed trade and hospitality sector is facing unprecedented challenges because of the Covid-19 crisis.
“I would therefore like to take the opportunity to assure you of Diageo and Guinness’s absolute and unwavering commitment to the licensed trade in Ireland. We have been examining how, in a very fluid and changing environment, we can support both you and your staff over the coming days and weeks. With this in mind we are bringing in a series of measures which we believe will assist you during the current period of uncertainty and help you maintain your business”.
He went on to explain that local dispense representatives from Diageo will need to carry out a survey in the coming weeks and to tag broached kegs and aged un-broached kegs.
“If you are left with draught product that you cannot sell due to product that has passed its sell-by date, we will ensure you receive full credit for part and full kegs,” he promised, adding, “We will need to arrange collection of above-mentioned kegs for credit to account. I would ask for your patience on this matter and the team will be in contact with you directly to manage through this process, which will take a number of weeks.”
Diageo has also cancelled all orders already on the system for delivery.
Diageo’s sales teams will continue to work over the coming weeks to provide a direct line of conversation with Diageo either remotely, via telephone or other communications channels.
The brewery’s customer services team will remain operational over the coming weeks and its call lines will remain open.
“We expect a high volume of calls so we would ask for your patience as we try our best to respond to all queries,” stated Colin Greene.
In closing, Colin Greene promised to work hand-in-hand with the trade bodies and Diageo is adding its voice to their calls for Government and national action to support the hospitality sector during this period and to ensure that viable businesses receive the support they need.
In response the LVA stated that it wishes to acknowledge the “enormous level of support” shown by the all main suppliers to its members including “the stopping of the collecting of Direct Debits with immediate effect, extending credit with a commitment to review after three or four weeks, either lifting kegs or confirming that all unsold (out-of-date) stock will be fully refunded when we re-open.
“These are all huge supports to our members at this time of national crisis,” stated LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe.
The VFI too has welcomed Diageo’s commitment to its customers at this unprecedented time.
“While we don’t yet know how long this closedown will last, the decision to extend credit and collect broached and aged kegs will be of huge relief to VFI members,” VFI Spokesman Brian Foley told Drinks Industry Ireland, “A commonsense approach to these business issues will ensure the supplier/customer relationship will be maintained.”