Published Date

TORONTO, April 17, 2020 /CNW/ - The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has created one of the most difficult times in recent global and Canadian history.


Across the country, people are being asked to self-isolate and remain in their homes in an effort to stem the spread of the highly infectious virus; this includes the shuttering of many businesses and events, which has the added impact of putting people out of work — including some 800,000 hospitality and foodservice workers from across Canada.

To help Canadians get through this period, Corby Spirit and Wine has already undertaken several initiatives that support key groups and protect those who are on the front lines trying to control the spread. Among Corby's efforts:

  • Hiram Walker & Sons produces hand sanitizer — The historic distillery in Windsor, Ont., has been converted to begin producing hand sanitizer, with a commitment to contribute up to 20,000 litres per week to help people keep their hands clean and free of germs. Hiram Walker and Corby have partnered with the Ontario government and the City of Windsor to help get sanitizer where it's needed most. The first batch was delivered two weeks ago to the Village of Lake Aspen Nursing Home in Windsor, and an additional 1000 liters were delivered to St. Joseph's Hospital and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Hiram Walker will also be supplying much needed alcohol to large manufacturers for their production of hand sanitizer.
  • Offering WSET Training to 1,500 bartenders — Corby is partnering with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) to sponsor a free Level 1 Award in Spirits course for 1,500 bartenders across the country to take while their bars are closed down. The course will be offered on four start dates — May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th; those participating can pick the date that works best for them. Each student accepted onto the course will be expected to attend a final exam when conditions allow. Successful students will receive a certificate and WSET lapel pin badge, both of which are widely recognized across the industry. This program shows the commitment of the WSET to support the hospitality industry during these challenging times. "Our partnership with Corby Spirit and Wine will help inspire and empower hospitality professionals through education and a qualification that will help them in their careers once they are able to return to work" said Dave Rudman, Executive Director at WSET Americas. For more information or to sign up, please visit
  • The Corby Brand Engagement and Advocacy Team (BEAT) will also be available via their own social channels for the duration of the course as additional support.
  • Foreign Affair Winery — The Niagara winery is closed to the public, but it joined with other local wineries to provide 2,000 bottles and screwcaps to assist in the distribution of locally-produced disinfectant.
  • Absolut Vodka supports LGBTQ2S artists — A $20,000 donation has been made to the Glad Day Lit Emergency Fund for LGBTQ2S artists and performers, and $25,000 has been donated to the Brooke Lynn Hytes Initiative to support drag performers who have found themselves out of work because of the outbreak.

J.P. Wiser's launches #CheersAcrossCanada: The J.P. Wiser's Canadian whisky team wishes to reinforce the importance of friendships and connections during this difficult time. Launched in partnership with The GenWell Project, the #CheersAcrossCanada is a virtual "Cheers" to be passed on to those we can't wait to connect with. Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore started the 'Cheers' online asking all of us to continue the #CheersAcrossCanada. Hold it high and join the movement on Instagram tagging @jpwisers 

Published Date

April 14, 2020

As part of the MBLL and the Province of Manitoba’s commitment to support businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries is providing relief to affected liquor commercial customers.

Liquor & Lotteries is giving its liquor commercial customers an opportunity to discuss options as it relates to their account payments, specifically for Liquor purchases for up to six months without interest charges on outstanding balances. The goal is to ease the overall cash-flow burden for those companies that are unable to meet payment obligations to Liquor & Lotteries specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic so that they may continue to operate and employ Manitobans.

During this time, the MRFA is opening up our emailing list to non-members and making our new Blog posts public. We do this with the hope that the more information is shared throughout our industry, the better we can weather this storm together. We are dedicated to providing information and resources as they become available.

Please encourage your colleagues and other food service industry professionals to visit our site and sign up for our emailing list, view our blog, engage with us on social media, and share information with us so that we may in turn share information with everyone in our industry. Our blog is regularly updated and not all posts will be shared via email, so stay tuned to the blog for updates on a variety of info and resources. 

If you have information you believe we should share, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 204-783-9955.

Published Date

NEW YORK, NY April 13, 2020 – With an increasing number of states issuing stay at home directives, “essential” businesses remain open.


“But it’s all a little idiosyncratic and haphazard, said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, the New York-based brand engagement and customer loyalty research consultancy ( “What’s deemed ‘essential’ in one state may differ in other jurisdictions.” But throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one business sector that has seen significant increases in activity and sales are liquor stores – and in many cities are considered “essential” businesses.


Spirits Sales Soar

Spirits sales are up nearly 80%. Beer purchases are up 70% YOY, according to the Brand Keys Alcoholic Beverage Tracker April 2020 “Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have resulted in increased levels of consumer anxiety,” noted Passikoff. “A drink provides an opportunity to relax and, perhaps, provide a sense of normalcy. And the holidays, combined with an increased number of virtual ‘gatherings’ and parties, has invigorated the category.”


Which Brands Benefit?

With alcoholic beverage category sales up sharply, brands that have generated high levels of customer loyalty will be the beneficiaries. According to Brand Keys’ 2020 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the alcoholic beverage brands with the most-loyal customers:


• Vodka: Svedka

• Gin: Bombay Sapphire

• Whiskey: Jack Daniels

• Single Malt: Glenfiddich

• Tequila: Jose Cuervo

• Rum: Bacardi

• Light Beer: Miller Lite, and (ironically) • Regular Beer: Corona Extra


Market Disruptions Are Emotional

During previous market disruptions – ones that came close to the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic – successful brands recognized, by planning or providence, that not only had the marketplace, but consumers themselves, changed dramatically.


“This pandemic has changed consumers’ world and brand views. Their decision processes — more emotional than rational— show that emotional decision making runs higher than ever and will likely to continue to do so. Views and values consumers use to assess brands are wildly different than they were just four months ago,” noted Passikoff


Loyalty Is Critical To Brands Surviving This Pandemic Loyalty can’t cure the virus, but it has proven itself to be an effective remedy to market crises. “Loyalty is alive and well, just very different in 2020, and very, very different since the COVID-19 inserted itself into the marketplace and the daily lives of consumers,” said Passikoff. “Loyalty has evolved to meet the expectations of more sophisticated and more connected – and now disconnected – consumers. It’s more complex to define and to measure, and marketers are going to have to place ‘loyalty’ at the top of their Key Performance Indicator (KPI) list if they want to come out of this maintaining – even growing – the customer base.”


It is critical that brands adapt and identify new strategies to accommodate a vastly changed, more emotional marketplace. “What’s been historically and independently-validated,” noted Passikoff, “Is that real engagement and loyalty metrics – psychological inquiry and higher-order statistical analyses – identify emotional aspects of real consumer decision-making as they will exist in the next 12 to 18 months. That will be critical to guarantee brand survival.”


“And yes, what’s “essential’ to one consumer may not be ‘essential’ to all consumers. But loyalty is going to be an essential strategy for every brand that want to come out of the other end of this pandemic unscathed,” noted Passikoff.

Published Date

(April 8, 2020, New York, NY) – Breakthru Beverage Group, a leading North American beverage distributor with operations across the United States and Canada, today announced a $500,000 commitment to partner with local nonprofit organizations, restaurants, and restaurant groups to purchase meals for front-line responders battling the COVID-19 outbreak and vulnerable populations affected by it, such as children and the elderly. This includes a contribution to the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation (RWCF) in addition to supporting Breakthru’s 13 U.S. markets and Canadian operations by partnering with non-profits, local restaurants and restaurant groups.  


Breakthru is proud to partner with the RWCF, a 501c3 nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers whose mission includes advocacy and support of those in the industry. Funds directed to RWCF during the COVID-19 crisis will offer relief to individual out-of-work restaurant workers through non-profit organizations serving restaurant workers in crisis.


“During these uncertain times, we have been inspired and motivated by the camaraderie of our industry. Together, we are resilient, and I am confident that we will overcome the challenges we’re currently navigating through partnership,” said Greg Baird, President and CEO of Breakthru Beverage Group. “We want to thank the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation for the support they offer to this critical industry and employees during this crisis and year-round. Their commitment to those who help our industry thrive is inspiring and we are honored to support their efforts.”


“With thousands of restaurants closed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen the devastating impact it has had on restaurant workers and their families across the country,” said John deBary, RWCF Co-Founder and Board President. “Breakthru Beverage has truly stepped up to support struggling restaurant workers and we’re grateful for their partnership and generosity.”


Across its local U.S. markets and Canada, Breakthru Beverage Group is also providing financial support to local nonprofit organizations, restaurants or restaurant groups that provide meals for front line responders including healthcare workers and vulnerable populations such as children or the elderly during these challenging times.


“Across our footprint, our support for local communities has been a defining characteristic of Breakthru for generations,” added Baird. “We recognize that we are in a unique position to leverage our scale and resources to offer relief and feel honored to help support those who have put their lives on the line and those who are particularly vulnerable today.”


As the impacts from the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to unfold, Breakthru Beverage Group remains committed to serving as a responsible and attentive partner across its North American footprint. Breakthru will continue to evaluate opportunities to make a positive impact in the communities in which its associates live and work while keeping the health and wellness of its associates and partners at the center of its decisions. Additional information regarding Breakthru’s market efforts will be shared locally concurrent with related activities.

Published Date

Highlander Brewery will continue to supply beer to all our customers and friends, keep all our employees working and remain a destination in South River with a little help from our friends.


You are a friend and we need your support now more than ever. 

Stay safe at home and let us bring the beer to you:The month of April is critical for Highlander Brewery. We are asking your support for the brewery by purchasing a case of beer and by telling others about our beer and our service.

<a href="" target="_blank">Order on line  

We will deliver anywhere in the province of Ontario. We are currently shipping with a courier but sometimes the only option we have is Canada Post and you will have to pick it up at your local post office as they are currently not doing home delivery. You will receive a tracking notice when you order ships that will detail which option we used. 

Join our beer club 

You will get a series of shipments over the next year. Purchase a 6 or 12 month subscription, add the shipping details and we will send out 24 assorted Highlander beers at the beginning of every other month. The first case includes a Highlander Cookbook! We will also include a coupon* for a free 6 pack (redeemable at our on site Retail Store) with every case shipped!!

For those of you from outside Ontario who plan to visit during the summer you can join the beer club now and pick up when you visit.

Gift cards are available to purchase at our retail store. Coming April 12 we will have gift cards available to purchase online. These can be used on our website, at our retail store or given as a gift!

Buy online and pick up at the brewery!

We now offer roadside pick up!!

Simply order your beer at 

and note in the comment section the date and time you would like to pick up. Someone will call you back and confirm.

Our retail store continues to be open during our regular hours. We are practicing all of the recommended procedures as set out by Health Canada to keep you and our employees safe. Please ring the doorbell and a friendly Highlander staff member will be happy to serve you.

Special Prize draw:

Purchase a 24 case of beer on line in the month of April and be entered into a draw to win


Highlander Hoodie

2 branded glasses

Highlander BBQ sauce 

 Six pack of your choice


Retail value $100.00

Join us on Monday April 6,2020 at 11 AM  We will be broadcasting live on Instagram from our brewery as we brew Smoked Porter. This is our first of several LIVE INTERACTIVE brewery events. Our Brewmaster, Brian Wilson, will be answering questions live as you watch us brew!  

Watch our socials for more information on dates and events!


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