Evolving to stay ahead during pandemic...

Milk and Honey, an elegantly appointed cocktail bar with Parisian flair located on the Piazza at Montecasino, reports a change in demographic since the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

“Our patrons are now slightly older – it seems lockdown made people want to go out and experience new things,” said Simbarashe Nematadzira, Milk and Honey Manager.

The perfect place to meet up with friends, lazing on a day bed while unwinding to the sounds of a DJ while overlooking the Montecasino fountain, Milk and Honey is one of 400 hospitality industry businesses that are receiving support from Diageo South Africa after the financial losses caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. Through Diageo’s #WeChoose campaign, the selected bars, restaurants, and taverns are provided with a stock injection and marketing support, as well as a movement to ensure the promotion of responsible drinking among patrons.

The purpose of #WeChoose, launched in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, is to help rebuild the liquor industry, which was hit by months of not being able to trade either at all, or only during restricted hours. “We will do this responsibly in terms of both trading and consumption,” said Diageo SA’s Marketing Director, Zizwe Vundla. “We want to avoid another strict lockdown where the alcohol industry suffers, so all parties need to play their part – responsible trading by outlets and responsible consumption by consumers.”

Milk and Honey opened in 2017 and has become a popular spot for indulging in handcrafted designer cocktails, fine single malts, and champagne, or a glass of wine, accompanied by a freshly prepared meal or snack from the chef-inspired bar menu which includes chicken popcorn, wild mushroom arancini as well as a selection of tempting desserts.

“We re-opened with just six of our original 40 staff members but thanks to Diageo SA’s financial assistance we have managed to bring back half of the previous workforce,” Nematadzira said. “We are using the financial assistance from Diageo SA to help with paying suppliers as well as staff salaries. The pandemic has cast a new light on our relationship with major suppliers like Diageo SA, without them, we wouldn’t be back on our feet this quickly.”

Covid-19 protocols cost money, Nematadzira said, but have been necessary as the pandemic appears to be here to stay. “We have to strategise to find solutions. One of our biggest challenges is customers who, before the recent ban of alcohol sales, didn’t understand that we have to close because of the lockdown regulations, and who wanted to take their drinks to go, which is not permissible. Covid-19 will be easier to beat if everyone plays their part – if we are responsible today, we can enjoy tomorrow.”

“#WeChoose to trade responsibly and we ask our customers that they choose to be responsible too, and use #WeChoose to drink responsibly on their social media platforms to show support,” Nematadzira said.


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