Shaken not Broken: Campari’s Daniele Pirotta on how they’re supporting venues

‘Compassion, courage and empathy are some of the characteristics we will all have to display during these times,’ says Campari Academy Australia’s Daniele Pirotta

We caught up with the Campari Academy Australia Team to chat through how Campari Group is responding to the current situation. Daniele Pirotta, Campari National Bartender Advocacy & Engagement Manager, provides an insight into the challenges the industry is facing and some relief initiatives launched to support businesses and the bar community.

What has Campari Group experienced in other markets across the globe, and what are some of the learnings for Australia?
Our Australian Campari Academy Team stays in close contact with our international colleagues, especially within our Asian markets and of course, with those back at HQ in Milan, Italy. One thing that is consistent across the globe is the resilience of the human spirit. Globally, the closure of restaurants and bars has had a heartbreaking impact on the industry. However, it’s uplifting to see the incredible support initiatives from suppliers, as well as venues displaying true entrepreneurial spirit, adapting their business in a bid to survive, a trend which has been replicated in Australia.

Milan, a city with which Campari shares 160 years of history, and its surrounding areas, have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The devastating impact on Italians’ health has been felt around the world, and we empathise with our colleagues in Italy, as well as in our other markets during this very challenging time.

How are local bars and venues adapting to the restrictions on their trading?
On-premise operators have taken a tough hit, but it has been heartening to see how many have managed to react and genuinely support local workers with initiatives such as meals for hospitality staff. I also love how nimble and agile some players have been in seizing opportunities following changes to liquor licensing and creating a bottled cocktail pick up or delivery offering, to stay connected to their patrons, and keep a portion of their business alive.

Whilst doors may not be physically open, businesses are doing what they can to stay afloat and generate work for some of their staff, by driving sales of their food offerings, amazing beer and wine selections, and pre-batched cocktails.

PS40’s PS SOFA series of cocktails.
What role can suppliers play in this period of lockdown?
It is the people and the venues they operate or work in which truly make our industry thrive. Let’s not forget that some of the greatest brands in the world, especially in recent times, were ‘seeded’ and built by bartenders, through their love for their craft and amazing storytelling.

It’s the unique experience offered to customers by a great bar or restaurant that drives our industry. A collection of triggered senses, ambience, entertainment, and the combination of familiar or unexpected flavours that only the on-premise landscape can provide. In this moment of need, it is important that suppliers support ways in which we can collectively continue to offer consumers a great experience.

So far, the overwhelming response by our industry peers has been excellent, from small virtual tip jar gestures to big players contributing globally and locally to initiatives aimed at supporting the affected trade and bartenders. Whilst the impact has been huge, each initiative, large or small can make a difference. Ultimately, we are in this together.

Tell us about how the Shaken not Broken campaign came to life?
While bars, restaurants, venues and staff around the globe undoubtedly feel shaken by COVID-19, it is comforting to see the brands that support our beloved industry are initiating gestures of solidarity and opportunities for us.

Campari across the globe has launched an initiative, Shaken Not Broken, that directly supports the hospitality industry and was designed to help the network of venues and bartenders to drive our industry forward.

Founded on the belief that we are stronger together, the initiative continues to grow. Bartenders across the globe have worked closely with their local Campari teams, including in the US and the UK, to curate Campari’s contribution to support the community in the best way possible. In Australia, we’ve committed $500,000 in value support to help venues as they evolve their business model.

Our initial objective is to help bars create, advertise, and deliver their own bottled cocktails. Campari’s aim is to provide value for venues by leveraging our media investment to drive awareness, our digital marketing expertise to optimise social media connection, and provide both stock and packaging materials to help bars adapt.

More details will be announced on how the initiative will continue to provide support in the weeks and months to come, including how we will provide more targeted support for bartenders through the second and third phases, “On-premise Recovery” and “On-premise Revival”.

Maybe Sammy’s reinvented classics.
How has this initiative been received so far, and how can venues get involved?
Internationally, venues are adapting their business model to support bottled cocktails. The ‘best of the best’ were quick to adapt and by doing so, they inspired several others.

There has already been a very positive response to the initiative and a promising uptake. The first priority for Shaken Not Broken is to support venues which already have a bottled cocktail offer, at the same time providing the opportunity to the ones that were maybe considering the take away model but may not have the means to do so.

If they haven’t yet, venues can register their interest at www.camparigroup.com.au.

What is the Campari Academy doing during this period of lock down?
Bartender upskilling and education is very important for the Campari Academy. Unfortunately, with the current situation, we have been forced to take a side step and press pause for the time being on some of our face-to-face Advocacy and Engagement initiatives.

While we continue to work in the background to adapt from a digital point of view and solidify our  educational programs for the “On Premise Revival” phase, our team is currently focused primarily on bringing Shaken Not Broken to life.

We want to focus first on doing our best to help venues continue operating. Over the coming weeks, as the situation demands, we’ll continue to work on how best to bring relevant and exciting content to our existing community.

What activities are in the pipeline once bars and venues open their doors again?
Just before the lockdown we were about to tour the country with an exciting round of CAMPARI ACADEMY MASTERCLASS and an even more exciting guest speaker: Professor Charles Spence from Oxford University and author of “Gastro-physics”.

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone. Fingers crossed, we will be back to normality as soon as possible, and while businesses find the strength to get back up, strong and proud, we will support our bartender communities with our regular programming of Masterclasses, Guest Speakers and Training Programs around the country.

Expect trainings in pure Campari Academy style, focused on bartender relevant topics, narrated through the lenses of our amazing brands but always delivered with a wholesome ‘category’ approach. We aim to be back with a unique course titled; “Capturing Creativity”. It’s a session on the relationship between the red bitter and the world of visual arts. Expect some cool smartphone photography workshops with it.

As always keep updated with the list of Trainings and Masterclasses on our page www.campariacademy.com.au.

There will be some exciting sessions coming up, including modules on the science of distillation around the world, zooming in on single malt with Glen Grant Arboralis, and sessions on the role of Jamaican rum in the evolution of tiki drinks brought to you by Appleton Estate.

Any final advice to the trade?
Let’s look after each other, stay connected, stay together (even if not possible, physically), keep informed and follow government regulations. Let’s brave these unusual times but keep physically and mentally healthy and perhaps use some of this extra time to study and upskill. Exercise when you can (Tris got himself some of those elastic bands and Jay and Luca keep practising yoga and mindfulness – reach out for some helpful tips)! Also, pace your drinking at home, we’ve got plenty of time to savour our drinks. Start enjoying Vermouth, and share some good times with your friends… reach out to them.

Some of us have fallen before but we have gotten right back up, either on our own, or with the help of friends and the bar community. Compassion, courage and empathy are some of the characteristics we will all have to display during these times. We will rise to the challenges ahead of us. We might be shaken, but we are definitely not broken!

We hope to see you all sooner rather than later, and hopefully meet at your bars to enjoy a cold ‘fluffy’ Campari Shakerato together!

Forza Ragazzi!
Daniele and the Campari Academy Team (Tristram Fini, Luca Baioni and Jay Lambert).

The Campari Academy team, from left: Jay Lambert, Tristram Fini, Luca Baioni, and Daniele Pirotta.
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