Adweek Radio: Happy Hour Goes Digital

What does the alcohol industry look like during the pandemic?

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Over our 40-year history, Adweek has always championed innovative storytelling. We’ve celebrated amazing stories facilitated by brands and advertisers, such as Microsoft creating an adaptive game controller for people with disabilities, and the Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning campaign showing how video games bring people together regardless of their differences.

But even with well-covered stories like that, I’m often left wanting to know more: about the people behind the ad and how it was made, the voices and details that make a story personal and help it resonate with a wider audience beyond the advertising and marketing industries. These are the behind-the-scenes stories we want to tell through a new biweekly audio magazine called Adweek Radio.

We’ll still go beyond the daily news cycle for deep dives on hot topics such as cannabis marketing and user-generated content. But our newsroom is filled with reporters whose interests go beyond their beats of media, advertising and agencies. They’re fans of history, the British royal family, the New York Mets. Their knowledge and enthusiasm will contribute to the ever-changing episodes of Adweek Radio.

In the inaugural episode of the series, we look at how Covid-19 has changed the alcohol industry. Sales of beer, wine and spirits are all up since the pandemic began—but since bars are closed, what are those who would normally serve all those cocktails and pints do when they can no longer work? And how has the demand for hand sanitizer changed the business models of distilleries and breweries?

We speak to New York bartender Jay Castillo about his job before the city’s stay-at-home order was handed down on March 15, and what it’s like to not be serving customers anymore. We also look at how alcohol brands are helping bartenders and first responders in different ways.

Adweek senior editor Robert Klara also joins the show to discuss liquor makers and breweries pivoting to produce hand sanitizer—and how they’re still managing to do a little branding while they’re doing good.

Listen to the first episode of Adweek Radio below.