Family-owned distillers William Grant & Sons kicks off its 1887 Virtual Bar to support Singapore bars that have their operations limited by the coronavirus ‘circuit breaker’ shutdown.

Cocktail tippling in Singapore took a huge hit when the government recently stopped all F&B outlets from accepting dine-ins to combat the coronavirus spread. For cocktail bars this is a death knell; without the spectacle of watching your cocktail being put together by a skilled bartender as they regale you it takes away the raison d’être of visiting a cocktail bar at all. And while many of them have pivoted to offerings cocktails for takeaway and delivery, that is only a drop in the ocean when it comes to lost revenue. Which of course means that pretty much all of our cocktail bars are suffering.

To help some of our local cocktail bars, William Grant & Sons will be launching its 1887 Virtual Bar, an online initiative to help feature as well as raise some financial support for some of these bars (1887 being the year that Glenfiddich by William Grant & Sons was founded). The platform will feature weekly guest shifts hosted by bartenders from your favourite watering holes, alongside Charmaine Thio and Brett Bayly, the regional brand ambassadors of Hendrick’s Gin and Glenfiddich respectively.

What’s particularly important about the 1887 Virtual Bar is that it allows consumers to offer financial support to featured bars. They can essentially make a “donation” by pledging to purchasing a digital cocktail from the featured bar’s menu – each bar will list four drinks – that can be redeemed from the bar once it resumes operations. William Grant & Sons will also match ‘donations’ dollar-for-dollar (up to $1,000 a bar), which can go a long way in helping the bar raise some revenue to tide over this shutdown period.

“These are uncertain times for everyone and more than ever, it’s important that we support one another. With 1887 Virtual Bar, the William Grant & Sons family hopes to help our extended family in the local bartending community stay ‘open’ – both virtually and in real life. We’re in this together, and we’re fully committed to supporting our local bar partners, which is why we’ll also match the public’s donations dollar for dollar. We hope the community in Singapore will tune in and take part,” said Satya Sharma, Managing Director for South East Asia, William Grant & Sons.

1887 Virtual Bar kicks off its first shift via Zoom on Thursday 9 April 2020 with a guest shift by Sam Wong, Head Bartender at Shin Gi Tai. The weekly series – which for now will run from now till end June – will move to feature other Singapore-based bartenders as well, such as those from Nutmeg & Clove and Tess Bar & Kitchen.

If you’re interested to check in on the 1887 Virtual Bar, do sign up for Zoom if you haven’t already and then register your interest here. You can support your favourite bars by purchasing a digital cocktail off their menu here. Cocktail bars interested in participating in the 1887 Virtual Bar program can sign up here.


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