Even among the industries affected by Covid-19, the bar industry is in an unusual situation. It is expected to be among the last of the businesses that would be allowed to open after the lockdowns are lifted in various cities. But continuing social-distancing restrictions would mean that even after the bars are allowed to re-open it would be a long time before patrons return to bars in large numbers.
The resulting loss of revenue would mean loss of jobs or pay cut for thousands of bar workers across the country. The 17 bars that have registered on the 30bbbarfuel.in site alone have a total employee strength of more than 700 and a monthly wage bill of around INR 1.2 crores.
Ranking and awards platform for India’s bars 30BestBarsIndia, has started an initiative, ‘Bar Fuel’ as a crowdfunding platform to support bar employees across the country affected by the economic crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bars all over India who need assistance are requested to register on the www.30bbbarfuel.in. The details of each bar are then made available to public and corporate donors on the site.
Donors have the option of supporting one bar or multiple bars of their choice directly by clicking the Donate Now button against the name and picture of each bar. This is a purely public service initiative and 30BestBarsIndia does not retain any commission.
30BestBarsIndia was founded in 2019 to recognize, rank and award the best of Indian bars and bar professionals through a transparent public poll. The donated amount will go directly and fully to the bar of their choice, minus the payment commission of the payment gateway. Since this a Covid-19 relief initiative, Razorpay has waived off the commissions charged by them on any contributions received.
19 bars have already registered on the Bar Fuel site including IFBA (Indian Flair Bartenders Association), and more are expected to do so in the coming weeks. The initiative is gaining support in Kolkata, Delhi - NCR, Mumbai, and Goa, along with a few other cities.
Sidecar in Delhi, Together at 12th in Gurgaon, Perch and Leaping Windows in Mumbai, and The Grid in Kolkata are some of the bars that have already registered.
Bar Fuel has raised more than INR 5 lakh on the platform so far from individual donors. The hope is that corporate donors, particularly the big players in the Indian alcobev industry would donate in a big way in the coming weeks. 30BestBarsIndia has set an initial target of raising INR 50 lakh through this crowdfunding effort.
Mumbai bar Leaping Windows is the largest recipient of the donations so far on www.30bbbarfuel.in.
"This is a really nice thing you have done. Instead of sitting around and hoping for the best, you've given us something to do. Much appreciated," said Bidisha Basu, of Leaping Windows.
According to Vikram Achanta, co-founder of 30BestBarsIndia, "In our opinion, bars that have actively focused on building their fan base and their community will find their community coming back to support them. Bars which survive this crisis will also realize we feel the importance of building a strong community and also, more importantly, a personal connection with their patrons ".
"Bar fuel is a great platform created at a very important time. It is definitely playing an important role in supporting the needy”. To this Pankaj Kamble from IFBA (Indian Flair Bartenders Association) added that this acts as a perfect catalyst.