Molson Canadian’s virtual happy hour campaign aims to unite drinkers and help support local bars and restaurants in Canada

At a time when drinkers across Canada are practicing social distancing and self-isolation, Molson Canadian is encouraging connection by bringing people together in the virtual world in support of their local bars and restaurants.

The brand is rewarding hosts of virtual happy hours with a $25 gift card intended for use at their favorite local watering hole once restrictions put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

“For now, while we can’t raise one at our favorite local spot, we can raise one for it, and with the promise of an 'IRL' meet-up to come,” says Joy Ghosh, North American marketing director for the Molson family of brands. “Supporting local businesses – in the good times, and the not-so-good times – is part of John Molson’s legacy as one of Canada’s first entrepreneurs.”

Molson Canadian is inviting drinkers to participate by sharing a screenshot or a video on social media with the hashtag #VirtualHappyHour and tagging their favorite local restaurant or bar, as well as @MolsonCanadian on Instagram or @Molson_Canadian on Twitter. The brand will then send the host a $25 gift card intended to go toward a round of beers at that favorite local spot “sometime in the future, when the time is right once again,” Ghosh says.

The program, details of which are available on a new website, is slated to run until the end of April, or while supplies last, whichever comes first.

With drinkers around the globe marooned in their own homes as part of efforts to lessen the spread of the virus, people are looking for new ways to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones. Since mid-March, Google searches for virtual happy hours have spiked.

“We crave connection, and beer is a time-tested and true element in how we socialize with friends,” says Ghosh, noting that the promotion extends to those who toast any beers – not just those brewed by Molson Coors.

“It was important to us to not limit the gift card recipients to only those drinking Molson beers during their virtual happy hours or only to local establishments serving Molson beers,” he says. “Getting together is universal and brand agnostic. The key, especially in trying times like these, is to get people together over things we can all enjoy: beer and good company — even if it’s virtually.”