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TTB Guidelines for Advertising Alcoholic Beverages on Social Media

Norris McLaughlin Liquor Law Blog, Legal Liquor, Ted Zeller, Attorneys at Law

Social media has become one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses, including alcoholic beverage industry members (e.g., brewers, distillers, wholesalers).  In light of the prominence of social media advertising, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has expanded the scope of its advertising reviews to ensure that the use of social media complies with applicable regulations.

The TTB recently published a “reminder” concerning the applicability of federal regulations that require mandatory statements and prohibit certain practices to various forms of social media advertising.  Mandatory statements generally include the name and address of the permittee responsible for the publication and a conspicuous statement of the class, type or distinctive designation to which the product belongs (and the percent-alcohol-by-volume for liquor).  Prohibited practices include statements that are false or tend to create a misleading impression, statements that disparage a competitor’s products, and obscene or indecent images.

The TTB will evaluate social media advertisements on a case-by-case basis.  The following chart provides an overview of how the federal regulations generally apply to social media platforms:

Keep in mind state laws may add additional layers of restrictions. For example, for general websites, we also recommend including an age verification portal which some states require.

For information regarding national and state liquor law matters or general manufacturing and distribution advice, please contact our Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group: Liquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire (tzeller@norris-law.com); David C. Berger, Esquire (dberger@norris-law.com) for Pennsylvania and New Jersey retail and manufacturing licensing; or contact our offices at 610-391-1800.

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