Know Your ABC's: Mentioning a Retailer on Social Media
Q: What am I allowed to post about a retailer's location/ website?
A: A beer manufacturer may post the name, location, contact information, web site address and social media contact of a licensed retailer where the beer manufacturer's products are sold as long as two or more licensed retailers (unaffiliated with each other) are listed in the post.
Q: What's an example of a social media post that's now legal under the new provision?
A: "We have recently released our Ignatius IPA on tap at both Cheers and the Regal Beagle tap bars in Springfield this week. We'll be releasing our new IPA at the Prancing Nancy and the Local Yokel in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more!"
(Two or more retailers are mentioned, no laudatory comments or pricing is listed)
Q: What's an example of a social media post that's still illegal?
A: "Come on down to the Regal Beagle this Tuesday for two-fer Tuesdays. This is our favorite tap bar in the whole world! They'll be serving 2-for-1 of our Ignatius IPA's for only $8."
(Only one retail account named, laudatory comments made, retail price is listed)
Q: Can we add images to the post when mentioning a retailer?
A: Yes. However, there are restrictions. If listed on social media, the images must identify two or more unaffiliated retailers, and only list the retailer's addresses, phone, email, web site, or other electronic media.
Q: How is it possible to have both retailers in an image?
A: Most photo editing software applications have features that allow you to crop and add images to photos. This allows the combining of multiple images into one photo file.
Q: What's an example of an illegal image and a legal image?
A: Images that show a picture of only one retail account or beer prices in the background would constitute an illegal image. For example if you went to one of your accounts and took a picture of the tap list to show your brands on the list you would definitely want to leave out or crop out any part of the picture that shows the prices.
An example of a legal image would be a picture that has been edited to show the store fronts of two of your retail accounts (unaffiliated with each other). These images would show no other information.
Q: Can I post about two different Bevmo locations having my beer?
A: Only if there's, at least, one more retail account listed in that post. If you're only posting about two accounts, the retailers must be two un-affiliated companies.
Q: Are there other situations where I can mention a retailer on social media?
A: Yes. The two other situations where you can mention a retailer are:
- You can mention a retailer on a social media post regarding "Beer Maker Dinners." These are instructional events for consumers held at a licensed on-sale retail premises. The event can be advertised, with restrictions. The law states specifically: "The listing of the retailer's name and address is the only reference to the retailer in the advertisement and is relatively inconspicuous in relation to the advertisement as a whole. Pictures or illustrations of the retailer's premises and laudatory references to the retailer in these advertisements are not hereby authorized."
- The other situation where you can mention a retail account is when sampling at an off-sale licensee that has a Type 86 "instructional tasting license." "An "authorized licensee" or its designated representative, in his or her absolute discretion and with permission of the holder of the type 86 license where the instructional tasting event will be held, may list in an advertisement to the general public the name and address of the type 86 licensee, the names of the alcoholic beverages being featured at the instructional tasting event, and the time, date, and location of, and other information about, the instructional tasting event, provided that BOTH of the following apply: 1. The advertisement does not contain the retail price of the alcoholic beverages. 2. The listing of the type 86 licensee's name and address is the only reference to the type 86 licensee in the advertisement. NOTE: Pictures or illustrations of the type 86's licensed premises and laudatory references to the type 86 licensee in these advertisements are not authorized. An "authorized licensee" or its designated representative cannot share in the costs, if any, of the type 86 licensee." Corresponding ABC Industry Advisory can be found here.