By Scott Wright

THE team behind Tennent’s Lager was motivated to buy Scots a pint after seeing the sacrifices they made during the coronavirus lockdown, the boss of the Glasgow beer giant has revealed.

Tennent’s has launched a campaign to effectively help 2,000 licensed premises give pub-goers a free beer as the hospitality sector in Scotland gradually reopens.

Managing director Kenny Gray said staff at the brewer wanted to show their support for the on-trade by encouraging people to visit pubs again and to reward consumers, who have missed out on celebrating so many landmark occasions because of the lockdown.

Licensed trade businesses began their journey out of lockdown on Monday when outlets were able to open beer gardens while maintaining social distancing and hygiene protocols. It is expected that outlets can welcome customers indoors again from July 15.

READ MORE: Scotland's biggest lager brand gets set for pubs reopening

Mr Gray, who noted that Tennent’s derives 80 per cent of its business from the on-trade, said: “We had the idea that we would like to buy Scotland a pint, and it started with that as a kind of statement. The more we got into it, the more we realised that during these difficult times people have missed birthdays, get togethers, anniversaries and even the sad occasions as well. We wanted to use this as an opportunity to support the licensed trade as it opens and drive footfall back into pubs, as and when it is safe to do so.”

Mr Gray added: “It is also about dedicating pints to people. As the campaign develops, this has got legs into the future in terms of people being able to buy pints for their friends they have not been able to see.”

Tennent’s is distributing 2,000 kegs of lager, each containing 88 pints, to bars, restaurants, sports venues, social clubs, and other on-trade outlets around Scotland under its Dedicated to You campaign, meaning it is effectively giving around 176,000 pints away for free. Outlets can request a free keg of Tennent’s Lager or Tennent’s Light by enrolling through the campaign’s online portal.

Mr Gray said consumers have been telling the brewer that draught pints are often the “number one” thing people cite when talking of what they missed during lockdown.

Asked if he thinks some pub businesses will ultimately not survive the crisis, Mr Gray replied that there is “risk in all sectors of the hospitality industry.”

He noted that in Scotland there is a “danger we may lose a lot of the tourist season”, though held out hope that staycations could prove to be a “massive opportunity”.

“I am fairly certain, sadly, that we will lose customers,” he added.

“But the hospitality industry is one of the oldest industries in the world, and I get blown away by how our customers innovate [and] reinvent themselves. I have got every confidence that the entrepreneurship that exists will keep the sector going.”