Like all 7,000 pubs in Ireland, McKeever’s Bar and Lounge in Rathdrinagh was forced to close its doors in March, prompting a complete loss of revenue and uncertainty about the pub’s future.
Pubs need to be innovative if they are to have any business at all during the COVID-19 pandemic and some are offering take-out and delivery to tempt some form of revenue.
McKeever’s, however, have taken this innovation to a whole new level. Located in County Meath, around 30 miles from Dublin City, McKeever’s has served the Rathdrinagh community for more than 150 years but even after all those years, it is finding new ways to think outside the box.
The pub is now flying beer, wine, and even packets of potato chips to its patrons by drone to keep the business afloat during these uncertain times.
Pub owner Avril McKeever told the Guardian about some of the more popular orders.
“Bottles of Heineken usually, or sometimes a few cans of Bulmers,” she said.
Paul Clarke, who is married to McKeever’s niece, operators the pub’s unique delivery system. He flies the drone all over the town of Rathdrinagh to customers desperate for some semblance of normality in an era that is anything but normal.
There are some complications that a normal delivery system wouldn’t encounter, however.
McKeever told the Guardian that the pub had to postpone deliveries one night last week due to adverse weather conditions.
“We had a bottle of wine and a bag of Tayto crisps ready to go last night but it didn’t take off because of the wind.”
McKeever believes that the drone delivery system lifts customer and staff morale during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the very least, delivering beer by drones offers customers a healthy reminder that McKeever’s is still alive and kicking, even if is experiencing an unprecedented struggle for survival.
Pubs are due to reopen in Ireland on August 10th and when that happens, customers should remember McKeever’s aerial delivery system and their attempts to keep Rathdrinagh residents in contact with normal life.
Until then, the pub will have to continue to use the ingenious delivery method if it wants to remain “open” during the COVID-19 pandemic.