Food In Canada

Canadian spirits companies step up for bartenders

By Food in Canada   

Food In Canada Business Operations Beverages Corby Spirit and Wine Diageo Canada

April 24, 2020, Toronto, Ont. – Two of Canada’s biggest spirits companies are joining together to provide support to workers in the sector who have been displaced as a result of COVID-19.

Corby Spirit and Wine Limited and Diageo Canada are partnering to donate $100,000 to the Bartenders Benevolent Fund.

“We remain committed to supporting our industry employees across Canada,” said Patrick O’Driscoll, chief executive officer of Corby. “We are proud to join our industry partner in an effort to make a difference by providing financial assistance to hospitality employees across Canada.”

“We are experiencing an incredibly challenging time in the Canadian hospitality industry,” said Jodi Rumble, VP, general manager, Diageo Canada. “Through this joint effort, Diageo Canada is proud to further our commitment to supporting the hardworking community of bartenders, bar staff and front-line workers across the country.”


The hospitality sector has been reeling since the COVID-19 outbreak reached Canada. As one of the first industries to feel its impacts, Restaurants Canada estimates some 800,000 bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff have been put out of work since March 1 as restaurants and bars across the country have been forced to shut down or, at the very least, offer patrons take-out only options.

That equates to about two-thirds of the workforce in the foodservice sector being put out of work — and does not include hotel and lodging staff who have also been laid off.

The Bartenders Benevolent Fund offers emergency assistance to front-of-house hospitality staff who have fallen under serious financial hardship.

“Not only is this contribution to the Bartenders Benevolent Fund extremely generous, it is an incredible statement that two of the biggest spirits companies in Canada have come together to offer this sum in solidarity, leading the way together,” Jon Gray, co-founder of the Bartenders Benevolent Fund. “We are so grateful that they’re helping us to support our hospitality industry.”

Created in 2013, the Bartenders Benevolent Fund is a non-profit financial resource for bartenders, servers and front-of-house support staff working in the hospitality industry in Canada.

Click here for more information or to donate to the fund.

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