Industry needs the love

This is not the column I intended to write this week, but here we are in the midst of an extraordinary and challenging time. 

Your favourite restaurant, winery, brewery, pub or bistro has likely already made changes to its operations, or has temporarily closed. The effects will be far-reaching and it will take time for the owner, staff, and suppliers, to recover.

But to quote the song Other Side by Madison Ryann Ward:

  •  “If I love you through it, will you be there on the other side?”

Let’s love our hospitality businesses through it. Here are some ideas to get us all to the other side.

Buy online:

You probably already do this, so why not see if your favourite producer (wine, beer, spirits, ciders, cheese mongers, chocolatiers, butchers, seafood suppliers, you name it) has online shopping?

A few producers are already offering extra services such as delivering to your car when your order is ready for pickup. Let’s get retro with car service.

Wine clubs:

There’s never been a better time to join a wine club. Many wineries may be limiting their hours and the number of people allowed in tasting rooms at one time, but most have clubs with a variety of options to keep you in wine. Free or discounted shipping is being offered by many.

Growler clubs:

While breweries are smartly curbing their patrons coming in with refillable growlers, see what else they may be offering as an alternative. Or simply sign up for a growler club now, so your favourite brewery has some cash flow, and beat the rush when the suds start flowing again.

Event tickets and experiences:

This suggestion has been circulating on social media. Rather than asking for a refund for a cancelled event, especially from a non-profit or community organization, donate the cost back to that organization.


Policies may vary across hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and so on. Ask if you can move your reservation to a later date, and do that instead of cancelling outright. Or buy a voucher or gift certificate for future use.

Restaurants: gift certificates:

Think about how much you spend in an average week or month on dining out, grabbing lunch, picking up coffees. Put that cash toward gift certificate that you can buy online, or call your go-to spot with your credit card handy and ask them to put it in the mail (or email a digital version).

We’re in this together, even if we have to be physically apart.


Events listing will return when we’re past this phase of social distancing, but in the meantime, why not invite a few friends to join you for a virtual wine, beer, spirits, or cider tasting via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, a group chat, a Facebook group, or a livestream on your favourite social media platform?

Pick a theme, prepare some tasting notes, perhaps even invite the producer to join you and your crew virtually and get to know the person behind your favourite libation. 


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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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