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24th June 2020

A message from Asahi UK: Time to #Reconnect…

Tim Clay, Managing Director, Asahi UK

For me, the process of getting back to some sort of more familiar reality is all about reconnecting – reconnecting with the people, places and pastimes we care about most. And at Asahi we’re working hard with our customers across the hospitality sector to support this.

Whilst there’s no ‘on-switch’ for the reopening of the on-trade, from Saturday 4th July we can really begin the journey of reconnecting in a meaningful way – a crucial thing for the sectors we operate in, the economy at large, communities across the UK, and, I’d argue, for the general happiness and wellbeing of many people. So much about what we’ve missed during this time comes back to the simple pleasures offered by pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and other social settings.

Working Together

Whilst we await the release of the government’s official guidance for the reopening of pubs & restaurants we are putting practical actions in motion – the literal and metaphorical reconnect process for the on-trade.

Our planning has been based on the best industry insights and built in partnership with our customers. We conducted a detailed survey with them to understand the key concerns and barriers to trade – and they told us that investment in staff training and culture would be fundamental to creating the right environment for consumers under social distancing measures.

My central message to our customers – and indeed the pub and restaurant-goers who visit and love their venues – is that we have a clear plan to help make the new reality the best it can possibly be. We have created a £1.5m+ back-to-trade support package, through which we will:

  1. Work with customers to help create an environment and experience, which is both safe and enjoyable for consumers. Situations and places where we’d all want to spend time
  2. Provide both practical support and new innovations to make this happen – with our bespoke range of activations and new digital solutions (both in-outlet and off-site) tailored to the needs of venues, their staff and their visitors
  3. Acknowledge the unknowns and adapt to the situation, following both government guidance and the needs of consumers as these undoubtedly evolve further

We are committed to supporting the stability and success of the hospitality sector throughout the covid-19 recovery – and we feel strongly that the combination of practical measures and innovation will be key to doing so.

Back to trade heroes

In truth we’ve been proactively preparing for this moment of reconnection behind-the-scenes for some time – whether that’s the kick-starting of cask lines at our breweries, detailed demand planning prep in the supply chain, or our dedicated technical teams going into cellars across the land to literally reconnect keg lines and help get venues fighting-fit to go again. The collaboration and effort across the whole industry has been incredible, both in adjusting to the needs of the lockdown era to keep things moving and in preparing for restart, from grain to glass.

Partnering with customers to focus on what really matters

Throughout this unprecedented period, we have kept in regular contact with our customers across the trade, both large and small, from independent bars to larger pub groups, to understand their needs and concerns during lockdown, and their vision for what the ‘new normal’ may look like.

In the early days of the crisis, mindful of the headwinds just around the corner, we looked to take decisive action wherever we could. Ahead of the closure of the on-trade, we launched a range of practical measures to support our customers with an immediate commitment to facilitate order cancellations, to credit unused keg & cask stock, and to offer additional financial support measures. These may seem like relatively small things, but we should never underestimate the importance that peace-of-mind can bring in a period of uncertainty, the like of which we’ve never seen before. And it was one of the most gratifying things from this whole period to hear how much this meant to our customers.

We know re-opening will be a gradual process and there will be more challenges ahead, but we’ll achieve the best outcomes for businesses, customers and communities, by continuing to pull together.

For our customers and partners – if you need anything at all from us as we look to this next phase please don’t hesitate to get in touch, either with me or your Asahi contact.

I look forward to that first pint moment and raising a cheers to all of you when it comes.


Tim Clay

Managing Director, Asahi UK


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