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Absolut Continues 40+ Years of LGBTQ Allyship with Introduction of 'Out & Open' Platform to Bring Awareness to Community Bars and Restaurants

Absolut launches digital space to encourage personal storytelling from voices like actor Bowen Yang and others from the LGBTQ Community

NEW YORK, May 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its 40+ year of support and allyship for the LGBTQ community, Absolut unveils 'Out & Open' to pay homage to LGBTQ bars and restaurants and the many ways these critical spaces serve the LGBTQ community. The ongoing initiative taps voices such as actor and comedian Bowen Yang to highlight the irreplaceable impact of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, and bring awareness to their plight as they face a steady decline in the industry by partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) with a significant contribution towards succession planning education for these establishments and other LGBTQ owned businesses.

Photo Credit: Bronson Farr

"Absolut is a brand born to mix and that extends to our ethos of being open to all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, backgrounds and more. The Absolut Out & Open platform conveys our more than forty years of allyship and ongoing support of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, as we understand the poignant role these spaces play within the community," said Pam Forbus, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Pernod Ricard North America. "Our goal with Out & Open is to bring attention to these critical LGBTQ spaces, leveraging powerful voices within the community like Bowen Yang to illustrate how important it is that they remain open for the future generation to safely gather and celebrate."

Recent studies have shown that LGBTQ bar listings have declined by 15.1% between 2019 and Spring 2021, on the heels of a 14.4% decline between 2017 and 2019 (source: Sociologist Greggor Mattson, Ph.D). While these bar closures have been exacerbated by the pandemic, a number of factors have driven this steady decline, including gentrification, technology and a lack of the succession planning that prevents these spaces from staying out and open for the next generation. However, despite being especially vulnerable to closures, these vibrant, joyful spaces are vital for the LGBTQ community. Whether providing a space for belonging, freedom and acceptance, serving as hubs for activism and fundraisers, or serving as a source for networking, resources and employment, these bars and restaurants exist at the center of the community and Absolut is committed to advocating for them to remain Out & Open.

An audio-visual series, led by photographer Bronson Farr, launches Out & Open on Absolut.com by bringing to life real stories from inside the walls of these vital spaces. In the series, members of the LGBTQ community share their personal stories that highlight the poignant role that LGBTQ bars have played, and continue to play, in their lives. These stories recall the joyful, emotional memories of what it was like to first enter a LGBTQ bar, pay homage to those that have closed, share how they have been spaces for social justice, and more. In a "Love Letter" to beloved New York City LGBTQ bar Eastern Bloc, Bowen Yang summarizes it best as, "LGBTQ bars are monuments to our past, venues for the present, and gateways to our future."

"Certain places have a hold on you from the moment you walk through their doors – the people, the energy, the possibilities. This is especially true for members of the LGBTQ community like myself," said Bowen. "These bars simultaneously hold our history and our future, bringing people of all walks of life together in celebration of each other."

To highlight the importance of protecting the future of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, Absolut is partnering with the NGLCC to make the organization's training programs around succession planning more accessible to more LGBTQ business owners. Based on a 2021 Family Business Survey from PWC, only 34% of small businesses have a succession plan. The succession trainings, hosted by NGLCC subject matter experts, will take place in cities such as Minneapolis, New Orleans and Denver among other cities as well as virtually. LGBTQ business owners can register on the NGLCC website on a first-come-first-serve basis (Out & Open Succession Planning Registration Form - Formstack) to learn how they can protect the future of their business so they can continue to provide a safe, joyful space to their communities.

"Absolut has been a trailblazer for inclusion and representation in advertising and in the hospitality industry for decades," said Justin Nelson, Co-Founder & President, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. "Now, by partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce on the Out & Open campaign, together we will make sure LGBTQ bars and restaurants have unprecedented access to educational resources to keep creating jobs and to keep their doors open to welcome LGBTQ customers and allies for years to come. We look forward to partnering to ensure the success of America's LGBTQ business owners with our friends at Absolut."

Absolut's long standing support of the LGBTQ community is made most visible by its Pride bottle, having proudly featured Gilbert Baker's iconic Rainbow flag since 2008, and just released its new design. The Absolut Rainbow bottle is a physical reminder of the brand's belief that a colorful, diverse and equal world is something to strive and work toward. The rainbow flag represents the range of voices that make up the LGBTQ community, celebrating unity in diversity, much like Out & Open.

For every listen of these stories on Absolut.com/us/out-and-open, Absolut will make an additional donation to the NGLCC.

*For every listen to an Absolut Out & Open story between April 25, 2022 through June 30, 2022, Absolut will increase its $175,000 donation to the NGLCC by an additional $1 to fund succession planning education and training, up to a maximum of $200,000.

ENJOY RESPONSIBLY

ABSOLUT®. PRODUCT OF SWEDEN. 40% ALC./VOL. ©2021. IMPORTED BY ABSOLUT SPIRITS CO., NEW YORK, NY.

ABOUT PERNOD RICARD USA®

Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA., the world's second-largest spirits and wine company. Pernod Ricard employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI) and is part of the CAC 40 index. The company's leading spirits include such prestigious brands as Absolut® Vodka, Avión® Tequila, Chivas Regal® Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Kahlúa® Liqueur, Malibu®, Martell® Cognac, Olmeca Altos® Tequila , Beefeater® Gin, Del Maguey® Single Village Mezcal, Monkey 47® Gin, Plymouth® Gin, Seagram's® Extra Dry Gin, Malfy® Gin, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Midleton® Irish Whiskey, Powers® Irish Whiskey, Redbreast® Irish Whiskey, Aberlour® Single Malt Scotch Whisky; Lillet®; Smithworks® Vodka, Jefferson's® Bourbon, Smooth Ambler® Whiskey, Rabbit Hole® Whiskey, Pernod® and Ricard®; such superior wines as Jacob's Creek®, Kenwood® Vineyards, Campo Viejo® and Brancott Estate®; and such exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouët® Champagne, G.H. Mumm™ Champagne and Mumm Napa® sparkling wines.

Pernod Ricard USA is headquartered in New York, New York, and has more than 700 employees across the country. As "creators of conviviality," we are committed to sustainable and responsible business practices in service of our customers, consumers, employees and the planet. Pernod Ricard USA urges all adults to consume its products responsibly and has an active program to promote responsible drinking. For more information on this, please visit: www.responsibility.org.

ABOUT THE NGLCC

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community. With nearly 400 corporate partners, 1900 Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers, and over 75 affiliates both domestically and globally, NGLCC is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses, known as Certified LGBTBE® suppliers.

CONTACT
Joanna Hein
joanna.hein@pernod-ricard.com

Kate Valauri
kvalauri@webershandwick.com

Absolut Vodka (PRNewsfoto/Pernod Ricard USA)

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/absolut-continues-40-years-of-lgbtq-allyship-with-introduction-of-out--open-platform-to-bring-awareness-to-community-bars-and-restaurants-301543667.html

SOURCE Pernod Ricard USA

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