Absolut Vodka has teamed up with Bowen Yang for launch an initiative aimed at preserving LGBTQ+ bars and restaurants.

While the pandemic has impacted bars and restaurants, LGBTQ establishments are significantly more vulnerable and have experienced a steady decline only exacerbated by Covid – a nearly 30% regression since 2017.

While a myriad of reasons contribute to the closing of these businesses, one factor is lack of succession planning. Legacy establishments often don’t have qualified personnel to help take over the business.

Recent studies have shown that LGBTQ bar listings have declined by 15.2% between 2019 and Spring 2021, on the heels of a 14.4% decline between 2017 and 2019. Only 34% of small business owners have succession plans. That figure is less than 24% in the bar/restaurant industry.

Absolute is therefore introducing Out & Open, an ongoing initiative to celebrate the safe spaces created by bars and restaurants and raise funds for training programs to prepare the next generation of LGBTQ business owners. The project is being run in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The program at launch includes:

  • Absolut is publishing an audio-visual series on its website and across social media that brings to life real stories from inside the walls of these safe spaces.
  • As part of the series, real members of the community, as well as actor and comedian Bowen Yang, share their personal stories that highlight the poignant role that LGBTQ bars play, and have played, in the lives of the community.
  • For every listen to an Absolut Out & Open story through June 30, 2022, Absolut will increase its $175,000 donation to the NGLCC by an additional $1 to fund succession planning education and training.
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