Pubs pivot to digital: 'We hope that people feel that the world outside is still there'

The Forresters in Surry Hills Before lockdowns began, James Breko hosted trivia and bingo nights weekly, across four venues in Sydney. Now he hosts weekly virtual trivia and bingo nights via Zoom and has picked up corporate team bonding events as well. I do the YMCA.” His digital events have one more thing in common with physical ones: “A lot of the work groups definitely have a few drinks in their hand on the show. Norris is one of over 200 small producers whose range was expedited to sale through Dan Murphy’s new Direct From Supplier programme. As well as being ranged online, Endeavour Drinks – the parent company of Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Cellarmasters and several other alcohol retailers – are also stocking moreproducts from small breweries, distilleries and vineyards in their bricks and mortar retail stores. Being sold nationally in bottle shops was something Norris has wanted for his business for the past two years. “They’ve done it quicker and with more products … A lot of people are getting more exposed to craft beer as a result of them bringing more attention to it. People are stuck at home and they’re still enjoying craft beer.” While his new wholesaling business has helped, Norris still grieves his real world venues. Furphy, which is owned by Lion, one of the largest alcoholic beverage conglomerates in Australia, has launched a weekly virtual pub on Friday nights. Hosted by Aaron Finch and Matt Okine, they feature live story telling, celebrity guests and the chance to wina very real meat tray delivered to your door. Sydney pub The Unicorn, whose schnitzel has achieved cult status, made the decision to offer the dish up for take out and delivery for the first time after lockdowns began.