From the Editor: Looking Back on 2020

At the end of each year, dictionaries and other organizations put out a “Word of the Year,” which is meant to encapsulate the year that’s ending.2020 recap

While I’m sure you can think of quite a few words that perfectly describe 2020 (some not fit for print), I’d like to offer up “pivot,” which according to means: “to modify (a policy, opinion, product, etc.) while retaining some continuity with its previous version.”

Well, the bar industry has done plenty of that this year! And while these pivots have been challenging, difficult, and sometimes risky, in many cases, they have also been beneficial.

As we wrap up 2020, I’d like to focus on some of the good that came out of the Year of the Pivot.

To-Go Cocktails

In an effort to help alleviate lost revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions, many states gave bars/restaurants the green light to sell alcohol and cocktails to-go temporarily. To-go alcohol and cocktails is something that probably would have become widespread—or at least considered—in many states in the coming years. But the pandemic fast-tracked the legislation, and it looks like to-go cocktails will stick around even after COVID-19 takes a hike. Two states—Iowa and Ohio—have already made to-go cocktails permanent.


COVID-19 gave bar owners the time and the impetus to finally check some items off their wish lists, and new technology was at the top of many of those lists. Contactless payment and ordering, QR code-based menus, and more have been implemented in bars this year.

The hospitality industry has always been a creative one, and this year definitively proved that as bar owners found new ways to stay open and create new profit avenues. This past year, we took a look at the efforts of bars and restaurants to explore new menus and concepts and find success in flexibility.

Spirit of Giving

Brands, organizations, and the industry as a whole stepped up to help bartenders and servers this year. Here are just two examples.

In the midst of lockdowns and shutdowns, the USBG National Charity Foundation launched a COVID-19 Relief Campaign that ultimately raised $9.5 million and awarded 32,000 grants to bartenders in need.

The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund raised over $21.5 million and awarded one-time $500 grants to over 43,000 eligible restaurant workers.

If you’re in the giving mood and able to help, many organizations are still accepting donations.

Here’s to hoping 2021 brings continued innovation and even greater success for all of your businesses.