Craft Spirits FAQ

Craft Spirits FAQ

Marketing in the spirits industry can be as complex and nuanced as the flavors in your finest whiskey. In this blog post, we’re diving deep to answer the questions that have been swirling around in your head. We’ll explore everything from advertising on TikTok to the nitty-gritty of alcohol promotion laws. Whether you’re a distillery, winery, craft beverage brand, or liquor store, we’ve got answers tailored to your needs. So, let’s get started on this journey through the intriguing world of spirits marketing.

Can you have a TikTok as a liquor brand?

Liquor brands can indeed establish a presence on TikTok, but there are several considerations and challenges to keep in mind. TikTok’s policies restrict branded accounts from creating alcohol-related content, making it necessary for spirit brands to create engaging, non-alcohol-related content tailored to an audience that wants to have fun and be entertained (not be marketed to). To succeed on TikTok, alcohol brands need to create unique content tailored to the platform, respond to trending topics quickly, understand the algorithm to reach the right audience and actively engage with the community. While TikTok presents opportunities for liquor marketing, it demands dedicated effort, significant resources and adaptability to thrive. High-Proof Creative can help you find the right balance in your beverage marketing strategy.

Can you advertise alcohol on TikTok?

No, you cannot directly advertise alcohol on TikTok due to the platform’s strict rules that prohibit branded content promoting alcoholic beverages or related products. This includes both paid advertising by alcohol brands and organic content that might indirectly promote alcohol. While TikTok’s demographics may align with the legal drinking age audience outlined by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States’ guidelines, the platform is cautious about its primarily young user base and the legal restrictions surrounding alcohol advertising to minors in many regions and countries. Instead, alcohol brands can work with a beverage marketing agency to embrace non-traditional alcohol marketing strategies like partnering with popular DrinkTok creators, encouraging user-generated content that references your brand, or focusing on non-boozy content to reflect your core values and identity while maintaining a presence on the platform.

Are there alcohol advertising laws?

Yes, there are alcohol advertising laws in the United States overseen by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. These regulations apply to all types of advertisements, including social media. These laws include regulations from both the federal government and state-specific rules, such as California’s Tied House Laws, which prohibits favoritism between distillers and retailers. Alcohol advertising for craft spirits brands on social media must ensure transparency, affirm the legal purchasing age, provide instructions against forwarding content to individuals below the legal purchase age, and actively monitor and moderate influencer or user-generated content to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. Working with a knowledgeable spirit marketing group to understand and adhere to these laws is crucial for marketing your alcohol brand while avoiding legal issues.

Are there a lot of women-owned distilleries, and should I market myself as woman-owned?

There’s a growing presence of women in the distilling industry; our data shows that women-owned distilleries make up around 8 percent of the total, and the number is growing. As an increasing number of women enter the field, it highlights the progress toward a more equitable spirits industry. If your distillery is woman-owned, you should definitely market it as such. By showcasing your woman-owned status, you not only celebrate the accomplishments of women in the industry but also attract a more diverse and inclusive customer base. It’s crucial to align your brand with community-specific organizations and events, leverage your team’s diversity in your branding, and engage in inclusive practices like giving back to your community. These efforts can help you build a more inclusive environment, attract a broader audience, and demonstrate your commitment to supporting underrepresented groups in the industry. One way to market yourself as a woman-owned brand is to join High-Proof Creative’s Women in Distilling, which highlights women and marginalized communities in distilling.

What alcohol promotion is permitted in California? 

In California, liquor advertising and promotion, particularly on social media, are subject to specific regulations. The key points to consider are that you must transparently state your brand details; 71.6 percent of the audience in your social media advertising should be of legal purchasing age; age affirmation may be required for digital marketing with direct user interaction; and instructions should be provided to prevent forwarding content to individuals below the legal purchase age. California’s Tied House Laws prohibit favoritism between distillers and retailers, and promoting your product at one retailer might require mentioning all retailers where your product is distributed. To ensure compliance with these alcohol promotion regulations, work with an experienced alcohol marketing agency familiar with California’s liquor advertising laws. Understanding and following these rules are crucial for your craft beverage brand to effectively market your products in California while adhering to legal requirements.

What are tied house laws in California?

Tied-house laws in California are regulations designed to prevent alcohol producers, including wineries, from influencing or favoring specific retailers unfairly. These laws prohibit producers from providing money, goods, or other forms of value to retailers. In California, they also impact social media marketing by restricting what wineries can promote regarding events at retailers, particularly events that mention prices or praise the retailer, although exceptions exist for educational or instructional events. A full-service wine and spirits marketing agency can help you effectively navigate these laws.

Can you create ads promoting alcohol on Facebook and Instagram?

Yes, you can create ads promoting alcohol on Facebook and Instagram, but there are specific guidelines and restrictions in place. These platforms require you to target your ads to audiences of legal drinking age, avoid promoting irresponsible drinking, and adhere to region-specific regulations. An alcohol marketing company like High-Proof Creative can help your craft spirits brand stay updated on the platforms’ advertising policies and comply with laws regarding alcohol advertising to ensure responsible and compliant social media promotions. Please note that these guidelines may change over time. Make sure to review Meta’s official advertising policies for the most up-to-date information on advertising alcohol on these platforms. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure compliance with any local or regional laws regarding alcohol advertising. 

Can liquor stores have social media?

Yes, liquor stores can have a presence on social media platforms. However, they need to adhere to specific regulations and guidelines regarding alcohol advertising on these platforms. This typically includes restrictions on the promotion of excessive drinking and targeting ads to individuals of legal drinking age, among other requirements. It’s important for liquor stores to stay informed about legal and advertising policies in your specific region to ensure compliance when using social media for promotion.

Can I sell my craft spirits online through my website?

Yes, you can sell your craft spirits online through your website using e-commerce platforms like Drizly, Caskers, Reserve Bar or SpeakEasy. These platforms allow distilleries to reach customers nationwide, enabling consumers to place orders online and have spirits delivered to their doorstep. However, it’s essential to navigate the legal and regulatory requirements of different states and choose e-commerce vendors that align with your brand’s needs and budget. You’ll need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to sell alcohol, implement age verification mechanisms to ensure you’re not selling to minors, and comply with any state or local laws regarding shipping and distribution of alcoholic beverages. As part of our beverage consulting services, High-Proof Creative can work with you to thoroughly research and adhere to the legal requirements in your specific location to operate a compliant online craft spirits business.

How do I find a great spirits marketing agency? 

To find a great spirits marketing agency, research and shortlist agencies with specialized experience in the spirits industry and strong online presence. Request case studies and examples of past work to assess their capabilities, and inquire about social media stats like follower growth and engagement rates. Look for awards and industry recognition as indicators of their excellence and creativity. Contact past and current clients for references to gauge their communication, ability to meet deadlines and results. Choose a full-service agency that aligns with your budget and clearly communicates their strategies and recommendations, ensuring they understand your brand’s goals in order to deliver effective marketing campaigns.

What is OND? 

OND stands for October, November and December, representing the critical months in the wine and spirits industry. During this period, wine and spirit makers experience a surge in sales, with approximately 40% of annual sales occurring in these three months. It’s a crucial time for distilleries and wineries to promote and sell holiday-specific wines, specialty liquors and gift packs to meet the demand for the holiday season. OND also requires proactive communication with buyers, timely shipping, and effective organization to succeed during this high-demand period. An alcohol marketing agency can guide you through this critical time with ease.

What states can liquor be shipped to?

Liquor shipping regulations vary by state in the United States; some states allow direct-to-consumer shipment of liquor, while others do not. It’s crucial to check the specific alcohol shipping laws in your state, the state you intend to ship to, and any recent changes in regulations since these laws can change over time. High-Proof Creative can help you navigate the world of liquor shipping and ensure compliance with the current laws and shipping requirements before shipping liquor to any state, including recommending an e-commerce platform that works for your brand and budget.

Navigating the complex world of spirits marketing demands creative solutions and a deep understanding of the ever-evolving landscape. From TikTok to alcohol advertising laws, High-Proof Creative is an experienced alcohol marketing agency that has helped distilleries, wineries, craft beverage brands and liquor stores effectively market their products and grow their audience. Set up a consultation to discuss how you can successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities in the craft beverage industry, ensuring that your brand not only survives but thrives.

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