As part of its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion across its 1,700 managed pubs and office network, Greene King has donated £10,000 from the sales of its limited-edition keg beer to the LBGT+ helpline charity, Switchboard

Progress Pale Ale is the first ever limited-edition keg beer to be brewed by Greene King. To ensure that it was as accessible, appealing and could be enjoyed by as many pale ale-lovers as possible – in line with its company-wide policy on diversity and inclusion – its style was carefully curated by Greene King’s team of expert brewers.  

Greene King and Switchboard met at  Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – England’s oldest inn nestled beneath the cliff on which Nottingham’s historic castle stands – to celebrate the milestone of hitting £10,000. It was Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – something of a cross between an inn and a museum,​​ with its numerous bars, cosy nooks and snug lounges filled with curiosities and relics of the city’s history – that poured the most pints of Progress Pale Ale, of the total 50,000 served nationwide. 

Named after the Progress Pride flag – a redesign of the original rainbow flag that better represents and reflects more communities – this American hopped pale ale was golden, punchy, and effortlessly easy-to-drink. And, coming in at 3.8%, it’s also very popularly placed at the top end of the low-alcohol category, with a nod to one of the latest beer trends, shrinking ABVs. Progress Pale Ale was launched back in June, during Pride Month, and was on sale until the end of September. The UK’s leading pub company and brewer donated 20p from each pint of Progress Pale Ale pulled to Switchboard LGBT+ helpline. 

 Since 1974, the Switchboard listening service has given support, knowledge, information, and resources to millions of LGBTQ+ people around the country. To many over the past five decades, it has been a friendly voice at the end of a phoneline in a time of need, and a means to access vital information that was otherwise hard to find. The development and launch of Progress Pale Ale were driven by Village Greene – Greene King’s LGBT+ employee-led inclusion group. Introduced within the organisation in 2019, Village Greene demonstrates Greene King’s commitment to championing lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality in the workplace. In turn, this helps to ensure that it’s a place that’s fully inclusive for all team members so that they can all achieve their full potential. 

 Karen Bosher, managing director of Greene King’s Premium, Urban and Venture brands, and board sponsor of the company’s Village Greene employee-led inclusion group, said: “Acceptance of diversity and inclusion is at the very heart of our operation, so it’s most fitting that the development of Progress Pale Ale – our very first limited-edition keg ale – supports this absolutely essential mission. 

 We’re 100% committed to creating a workplace where people can be themselves, have a sense of belonging and feel valued for their individual skills and abilities. Just as we want our customers to feel at home in our pubs, we want our people to feel like they can be their true self at work.  

 We also want our customers and team members who may be going through their own struggles when it comes to sexuality, gender identity, sexual health, and emotional wellbeing to know that they can safely eat, drink and socialise in our pubs. We hope that including Switchboard’s number and logo – right next to ours – on all supporting marketing material, from fliers to posters and t-shirts worn by our pub teams, has highlighted this. Not to mention raising awareness of where, and how, both our customers and team members across the country can access such vital help and support when they need it most.   

 We hope that this is the first of many Switchboard-Greene King fund and awareness-raising initiatives.” 

 Stephanie Fuller, Switchboard General Manager, said: “Through our listening service we’ve been supporting LGBTQIA+ communities right across the UK, since 1974, with calm words when they are needed most. It’s donations like this, from Greene King, that make a real difference to the help we’re able to provide. 

“This £10,000 donation alone means that we’ll be able to listen to 1667 calls or train 22 more
volunteers to answer them. These are truly significant and important numbers and I’d like to take
this opportunity to thank Greene King and everyone who has enjoyed a pint of Progress Pale Ale in recent months for their support.” 

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