Bars are showing they are Shaken Not Broken

You’ve likely seen news in recent weeks about Campari’s Shaken Not Broken initiative, a three phase campaign designed to help venues get through their toughest fight yet. 

Last week we covered how the campaign was being rolled out, with good feedback from venues in Sydney and Melbourne. And now, as momentum behind the movement grows, so too has it’s reach, extending beyond the two cities and across the country into regional and metropolitan Australia. 

One prime example of this is at Santé Cocktail Bar in Toowoomba, Queensland. Opened in December 2019 by Alexandra Percy and Loïc Mouchelin, the bar usually boasts a menu featuring 160 odd cocktails, reduced to an offering of 20 for takeaway at the moment. 

“The Campari initiative is exactly how we feel right now; Shaken, not Broken,” Percy and Mouchelin told Bars and Clubs. 

“Shaken not Broken will allow us to offer individual Negronis at a special price. Our normal offering is four cocktails in a 500ml bottle so this will be a more cost-effective option, especially for hospitality staff around the area.”

“It will allow us to offer people a new option as well as use it to support other local businesses. It also takes a strain off our finances a little and means that we can continue not only our business but also initiatives that we have implemented and are important to us.”

Santé has a strong commitment to creating something where everyone feels at home. By teaming up with other businesses, or doing what they can to foster a sense of community, they hope to help everyone in the area pull through this tough time onto the other side. Some examples include the single serve Negroni being cross promoted with a local Italian restaurant’s pizza special this weekend, and discounts on Mondays for hospitality and health workers. 

“It has allowed us to build up a real community in these areas which in hospitality is especially lacking in such a rural area… We have the opportunity to talk to everyone when they come to pick up their order and they all say they love what we are doing and hope it will continue after everything is allowed to reopen,” Percy and Mouchelin said. 

“This is our industry and it’s so important for all of us that everyone survives this! Competition is never a bad thing, it opens up the industry and provides so many opportunities for guests and customers but also for people working in the industry to work and visit many different places with many different offerings.”

Meanwhile, in regional New South Wales, another bar is seeing great results from the Shaken Not Broken. 

Morgan Cabot, Owner and Bartender at tropical dive bar Rama in Maitland, told Bars and Clubs that the initiative helped give them confidence to rework the bar’s atmosphere and attitude into canned cocktails. 

“We’re actually stoked with the new range. The flavours are the same ones we have always used as our focus – big, tropical and fruity – but the new format makes them easier to understand and get people trying new things. We are keen to continue exploring this concept and style, even after lockdowns are lifted,” Cabot said. 

“At a time when there are significant supply chain interruptions, and the uncertainty of what’s happening tomorrow leaves bar managers hesitant to order too much stock, The Shaken Not Broken initiative has allowed us to do what we do best and given us not just stock to help the bottom line, but room to experiment with old ideas and rework them to the new paradigm.”

Community support for the new style of offering has been incredible for Rama, which Cabot hopes could be a sign that innovation will continue to thrive through adversity in the industry. Like Percy and Mouchelin pointed out, coming together for the better is what matters most right now.

Cabot said: “It’s super important that we see an often fractured industry come together — not just to save our collective souls — but also to ensure that when this is all over, we can use our voice to press for better conditions for everyone. I’m hopeful that we will see some positive changes come from this difficult situation that will help our industry thrive. 

That same sentiment is felt further south, all the way down in Tasmania at Rude Boy in Hobart. Co-owner Rohan Massie said they “basically had to become a bottle shop overnight” with an offering completely different to what they usually had at the bar. But it’s an experience that can be learned from. 

“There’s always two ways things can go and it’s up to us to find the silver lining in all of this. Whether that is seeing the way the industry really has come together over the last couple of months or using the inevitable down time we all have to learn and push ourselves. We should all be aiming to go back into the bar better and more knowledgeable than when we left,” Massie said. 

Shaken Not Broken has helped take some of the risks and costs from Rude Boy’s shoulders, as they build their knowledge, playing around with bottling signature and classic cocktails to find a way to successfully operate in this new normal. As with Santé and Rama, Rude Boy customers have backed the new offering with immense support. 

As Massie said: “There’s just something about being able to drink a Negroni at home that’s so luxurious even if you are in your Sunday trackies!”

It’s pretty incredible to see how venues across the country are not only doing what they can for themselves, but also paying it forward while kicking goals for innovation and ingenuity in this industry. As we move along a slow staggered path to reopening, showcasing and supporting this will do wonders for the recovery of bars big and small.

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