[avatar user=”Ralph Bungard” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”file”]Ralph Bungard of Three Boys[/avatar]

Here’s one for you: A customer walks into a bar. “I’ll have twelve starters, twelve mains, twelve deserts and twenty-four pints of beer please, waiter”.

“Oh, are you expecting company?” The waiter retorts. “No, it’s just me today”, says the customer, “I didn’t manage to make it out much in the last couple of years and I’m just catching up!”

A most unlikely scenario, right? And not even a funny joke! At the heart of the sentiment though is the guts of why hospitality and all those peripheral to it are amongst the hardest hit in these times.

I’m not saying that other businesses are finding our new Covid world easy. Far from it. But the difference for hospitality compared with say painting your house, is that your house still needs painting when the crisis recedes. In other words, that job effectively stays “in the job bank”. Unlike a night out on the town. That financial opportunity for hospitality is gone with no return.

Hospitality is an asset to our society. We should rank it up there with parks and gardens, libraries galleries and museums and alike.

Think of the towns and cities that we see as attractive to visit; they might have a Tate Modern, an opera house or a funny tower that leans at a precarious angle. Think of the things we love about our Otautahi; Hagley Park, the Port Hills, Christchurch Art Gallery (Te Puna o Waiwhetū), our central library (Tūranga).

They are all awesome. But once we have had our fill of those beautiful assets, we look to fill our cultural and literal bellies with hospitality. What’s a trip to the Guggenheim without a follow up genuine New York City hot dog and beer? What is a sunny Saturday at Te Puna o Waiwhetū without a bite to eat and a pint of delicious Three Boys served at Riverside Market? Hospitality is not a “tag on”, it is integral to what creates our essence as a place.

Riverside Market in Christchurch

At this time of Covid and with the current pinch on “luxury” spending we really need to do our best to protect our hospitality assets, just as we would protect any asset. I know, normally I rabbit on about beer or beer styles, but these are different times that need us to work together in a different way. Without your support of our local hospitality, there would be no Beer Baroness, Two Thumb, Southpaw, Cassels. No Ghost, Dux, Derelict, Lighthouse, Eruption, Kaiser. No Wigram, Volstead, Concept, Wilderness. No Brew Moon, Laboratory, ChinChiller, Bodgie or maybe even — god forbid — no us here at Three Boys Brewery! Christchurch would have a less interesting beer landscape.

Let’s band together to protect hospitality, one of our city’s greatest assets. Go out and eat and drink. Take up the challenge — order two mains just for yourself — you can bank it in the belly and always jog it off tomorrow!

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