March 31 2020  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Brown-Forman announces US$1 million in COVID-19 relief

By Jas Ryat

US based Brown Forman Corporation recently announced a donation of US$1 million to COVID-19 response funds. The donation supports multiple locations and agencies as Brown-Forman assesses community and industry needs and identifies the best ways to support those impacted by COVID-19.

“As COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, we want to provide assistance to our communities in this time of great need,” said Lawson Whiting, Chief Executive Officer, Brown Forman Corporation. “We are announcing today donations totalling US$1 million that will enable us to give back to the people and communities that mean so much to our company.”

Initial contributions included in the US$1 million dollar gift include the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, the overall hospitality industry including the United States Bartenders Guild, and a contribution to One Louisville – a COVID-19 response fund in the corporation’s hometown.

Brown-Forman officials also stated that they are actively exploring ways to expand its reach and contributions internationally noting that the company currently has employees in over 170 countries around the world.

Marshall Farrer, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Brown-Forman Travel Retail and Developed Asia Pacific Regions added that while this is a trying time for the spirits industry and the travel retail channel, both have overcome serious challenges in the past.

“We are currently assessing the impact of COVID-19 alongside our vital customers and unfortunately projecting monumental negative impacts to the entire travel retail channel.Our first and foremost priority, however, is the health and well-being of our employees, our partners and the travelling public,” said Farrer.

Farrer noted that Brown-Forman has enacted its global crisis management and pandemic teams and that he and his senior staff are continually communicating with and providing support and updates to travel retail team-members.

“In keeping with the guidelines of government officials, health experts and company policy, the Brown-Forman travel retail team has shifted to remote working arrangements and has been granted increased flexibility and support to do their jobs while looking out for the safety of their families and loved ones,” he added.

Farrer also noted that the Jack Daniel Distillery in Tennessee and the Brown-Forman Distillery in Kentucky as well as the Herradura Distillery in Amatitan, Mexico, and Canadian Mist Distillery in Collingwood, Canada have begun producing and packaging hand sanitizer to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“For the past week or so Brown-Forman has been donating cartons and drums of hand sanitizer to health care providers and first responders who are on the front lines of the pandemic in Nashville, Louisville, Woodford County, Kentucky, Amatitan and el Arenal, Mexico and Collingwood, Canada.However, we are continuing to operate our distilleries in the production of our award-winning Jack Daniel’s, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve and Herradura Tequilas and Canadian Mist to meet the needs of domestic markets and in preparation to reengage our valuable travel retail consumers at the right time,” he said.

Farrer noted that Brown-Forman has weathered considerable challenges in its long and storied history.

“As a 150-year-old family business we survived prohibition in the United States – really our only market at the time – for 13 years.We have every confidence that we can persevere through these challenges and hope for everyone’s safety during these trying times,” he said.

Brown Forman has partnered with the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation to support their COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund. As part of this partnership, people are encouraged to make a donation to the foundation, as Brown Forman will match dollar-for-dollar donations (up to US$100,000). Please visit Fund to make a donation to help our colleagues and friends.

The firm is also joining colleagues in the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and making a donation to the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) Foundation Emergency Assistance Program to help them during this time of need.

Finally, Brown-Forman is actively exploring additional ways to expand its reach and its donations internationally. As a global company, Brown Forman employs people in over 170 countries. These donations will be made by the country team and directed by our site-based leaders.

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