tess posthumus

How we can truly help Ukraine

24 March, 2022

The world’s eyes have bee on Ukraine the past month following the devastating military invasion from Russia. But, while it’s been upsetting to see the horrors of war, it’s also heartwarming to see our industry come together for those in need.

However, while there’s no shortage of love from the bartending community, we need direction on how we can be effective in our actions. I don’t believe that liking a post on Instagram is helping the victims of Ukraine, and while I’m a regular poster I think it’s important we listen to what people have to say. People like Khrystyna Tsukur, founder of Kyiv’s Barometer, have been vocal on social media and outlined how we can truly help through their perspective on the situation, day by day. 

The obvious and immediate answer to helping from afar is by donating money. However, given the state of the industry following the pandemic, we don’t have much to give away. Initiatives such as #MakeDrinksNotWar which have raised money through the sales of cocktails works well and I think giving to trusted charities is important during a crisis, but the true wealth of our industry isn’t  financial, it’s our network. 

We spend a significant portion of our lives building our reputation and social media following and now we have a chance to use this for good. A few weeks back I got a call asking for any contacts for the LGBTQ community in Berlin for some stressed Ukrainian girls, and with little effort from me this made a huge difference to their lives. 

It’s not just about helping those in need either, as we also have the opportunity to benefit as an industry. In the Netherlands and much of Europe there’s a staff shortage in hospitality due to the effects of the pandemic, so this is a fantastic opportunity to help both Ukrainian refugees and bar scenes across the continent – and regardless of experience there’s always something we can offer, from bar backs to working the floor. 

I think it’s these positives we should be focusing on in order to make a meaningful difference, rather than just boycotting Russian products. Putting our energy into negativity isn’t the solution, we need to listen and use what we have to make a true and lasting difference to those in dark times.

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.