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DB & Christchurch Bars Enjoy Increased Sales

8th April 2011

DB & Christchurch Bars Enjoy Increased Sales as Residents Band Together Post Earthquake

DB Breweries has noticed an increase in sales around Christchurch following the major earthquake in February as residents try to reclaim some normality.

While many inner city bars and restaurants were damaged when the 6.3 magnitude quake struck on 22 February, their suburban siblings survived unscathed offering residents local outlets where they could meet colleagues, friends and family for respite and refuge.

General Manager of DB’s Hospitality division, Andrew Campbell says his company’s beer and cider sales have not dropped despite many bars and restaurants in the CBD remaining closed.

“In fact sales have increased due to enhanced activity among hospitality operators in the outer suburbs. People clearly still want to get together and get on with their lives. Enjoying a refreshing beer over lunch or dinner with friends is a key part of returning to normality. Our retail sales through supermarket and specialist liquor stores have also been strong as people band together at home to support each other.”

Campbell says DB was fortunate that its major wholesaler partners were fully operational soon after the quake ensuring minimum disruption to customers. The fact DB’s Christchurch office wasn’t badly damaged, nor DB’s Mainland Brewery in Timaru, has ensured not only continued production and delivery of beer, but time for DB’s Canterbury team to help the community.

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Rob Mercer, owner/operator No.4 in Christchurch.

“Our Christchurch staff have since been busy delivering complimentary beer to groups such as Urban Search and Rescue, the student army, the farmy army, local volunteer fire brigades and the Australian and New Zealand Police to acknowledge and thank them for the incredible work they have been doing for the community,” Campbell says. “Our staff are also now working with bars and restaurants that are open and assisting them to increase their custom. We’re also working proactively through options with those badly affected to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible and reopen.”

Campbell says DB is also offering $5000 for every try the Crusaders score over the next six weeks through its Tui brand, a long-term supporter of Canterbury rugby. The money raised through the try challenge will go directly to grassroots rugby in Canterbury. After their first game, the Crusaders earned their local rugby clubs $25,000.

“We expect the final amount to be in the vicinity of $200,000.”

Going forward, Campbell believes Christchurch’s hospitality precincts could be changed forever as a result of the earthquakes.

Rob Mercer, owner/operator of No.4 in Merivale, Christchurch says the number of patrons at his bar, and those in the surrounding area, has doubled compared to the same time last year.

“There is well over 200 cafes, restaurants and hotels out of action in the central city which has put enormous pressure on suburban operators such as ourselves. It’s also put pressure on staffing numbers. We’ve recruited around 10 more staff on top of our existing 35 who are also doing longer hours.”

Mercer has also noticed a change in clientele with younger people, who would normally go to inner city clubs, now coming into No.4.

“Our existing customers have adapted really well and the younger people have been really well behaved,” he says.

Like Campbell, Mercer says the increase in customers is driven by the need for people to get together and share their experiences and circumstances.

“A lot of people are still living in damaged homes without appliances. Bars like No.4 offer a safe and comfortable environment for people to meet their family and friends. In many ways we have become an extension of their lounges.”

Looking ahead Mercer says more suburban bars, cafes and restaurants are likely to open to cater for the shift in custom. “We’re mindful there will be increased competition but equally confident that our customers will remain loyal regardless.”

Like DB, NO.4 is doing its bit to fundraise for the community. The bar is currently running a $25,000 fundraiser. One dollar from every drink sold over the coming month will go into a fund for quake affected Canterbury kids.


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