4 Alcohol Marketing Guidelines You Need To Be Aware Of

You need foot traffic in your liquor store to keep the lights on. You sell products people want, and you need to get the word out. But all of the regulations and restrictions surrounding the promotion of alcohol consumption can be a minefield to navigate.

Alcohol marketing is highly regulated, and failing to comply with those rules can result in fines, legal action, and reputation damage. You want to bring people in the door, but you must do it right. 

The best way to connect with your customers and promote your store is to follow the alcohol marketing guidelines to keep your store compliant and help your patrons stay safe.  

This post will cover four crucial alcohol marketing guidelines and tips you need to follow to avoid penalties — and create marketing campaigns designed to bring healthy and responsible traffic into your store.

Avoid Penalties and Follow Alcohol Marketing Guidelines

When it comes to promoting and marketing alcohol, it’s crucial to consider the impact on sales as well as the potential impact on public health and safety. To responsibly sell and advertise alcohol, you must consider all guidelines and regulations set forth by the governing bodies and industry organizations.

Your marketing campaigns also dictate how customers view your brand; if you don’t follow guidelines and industry best practices, the public may not respond well to your business. Following regulations can help build trust between you and your potential customers.

Let’s dive into the critical components of alcohol marketing guidelines and how they promote healthy and safe consumption.

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1. Age Restrictions

Age restrictions vary by region, and advertising alcohol to people under the legal drinking age is illegal with varying degrees of consequence. You don’t want to risk facing these fines and penalties for your store.

Do not produce content with any models or actors who appear to be under 25 for advertisements. Utilizing cartoon characters or other elements that appeal to minors or allude to underage drinking in ads is strictly prohibited.

This is an incredibly sensitive subject, and you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of this conversation. Marketing to underage youth will be the death of your liquor store. When in doubt, age up!

Things to Think About

  • Minors can’t purchase alcohol, so don’t target underage groups.

  • Think about who visits your store and spends money.

  • Create marketing campaigns designed for your customer base.

  • Don’t market to people you aren’t selling to.

2. Consuming Responsibly

Alcohol advertising should not encourage excessive or irresponsible drinking for anyone of any age, or depict drinking in a way that is likely to appeal to minors or others likely to abuse alcohol. Sponsoring events or activities that promote excessive drinking and are likely to be attended by people under the legal drinking age should be avoided at all costs.

Do not create misleading, false, or unproven claims about the effects of alcohol on a person’s skills or behaviors. Any actions or behaviors under the influence should be handled with caution.

It may also be wise to limit the use of endorsements or testimonials in alcohol advertising. Using celebrities, influencers, or other prominent role models could normalize alcohol consumption among youth. 

Things to Think About

  • When it comes to your liquor store’s marketing, focus on consuming responsibly. Some options for responsible consumption include: 

    • Pairing wine with a nice dinner.

    • Celebrating special events with friends at home.

    • Experimenting with flavors and mixing drinks.

  • You don’t need to attach alcohol to specific activities or in-store events that may endorse drinking irresponsibly or driving under the influence.

3. Health & Safety

Alcohol advertising should not imply that alcohol can enhance personal qualities or physical performance. Take care not to promote excessive drinking or binge drinking — “drink as much as you can” promotions may not be well received or reflect well on your business.

Require accurate and responsible labeling and packaging of alcohol products: Alcohol content, health warnings, and other beneficial or necessary information. 

Encouraging people to get help or assistance if they are under the influence and avoiding the promotion of negative interactions or inappropriate activities when alcohol is involved may be an intelligent form of alcohol marketing.

Things to Think About

  • The way you market your liquor store translates to how your customers will see your brand as a whole.

  • Your promotional campaigns are indicative of the kind of company you are.

  • Promoting getting home safely, calling a cab, or listening to people when they say no can help build trust with your community and your customers. 

4. Social Media

Social media and digital marketing campaigns must comply with these guidelines and be carefully monitored to ensure they are not targeting minors or promoting excessive drinking. 

Social media is incredibly accessible, so whatever you promote on social media will be viewed by many people. Also, keep in mind each platform has its restrictions regarding what businesses can promote, so do your research beforehand.

Things to Think About

  • Think about who is on social media and who will be interacting with your content.

  • Find social media outlets, channels, and communities that best fit your target audience — don’t take a spray-and-pray approach when it comes to advertising.

The Undercover Bouncer: Your POS System

While it might seem unrelated to alcohol marketing, a POS system can come with unique features that help you stay on the right side of advertising. Bottle POS comes equipped with age-verification features and integrated marketing that can help you reach your target audience safely and healthily. 

Customer loyalty programs can help you get your customers' contact info, verify their age, and then market directly to them with campaigns or promotions designed for an audience you already know you can sell to.

Using Bottle POS’ customer analytics and marketing features has helped stores with their advertising efforts in a safe, compliant, and effective way.

How to Develop Socially-Responsible Marketing Campaigns That Are Effective

With all of the rules and guidelines around advertising alcohol, it can be daunting or frightening to create campaigns. Any negative publicity or bad marketing can be detrimental to your business, so you must be careful with your promotional activities.

Bottle POS can give you accurate customer data, and this customer data can help you determine who your target demographic should be. Analytics can show you what age group purchases the most from you, and what kinds of products they buy. Plus, baked-in SMS and email marketing makes promotion easier than ever.

Use these features to create fun, engaging, and socially-responsible marketing campaigns: In-store wine tastings, discount offers, and coupons — and you can even consider partnering with ridesharing companies.

If you understand your customers better, you will be on a better path to creating socially acceptable advertisements.

Follow Alcohol Marketing Guidelines and Find Success

These guidelines are intended to promote responsible drinking and prevent adverse health and social effects associated with alcohol consumption. Marketing guidelines vary depending on where your liquor store is based. Do the necessary research to understand all the laws and regulations in place.

Adhering to these guidelines not only protects the public, but it protects the reputation and legal standing of your small business. Understanding the rules and regulations will help you create effective marketing strategies while promoting responsibility and accountability within the liquor industry.

Utilize tools at your disposal, and take advantage of Bottle POS customer data and customer loyalty programs to help you create marketing campaigns targeted directly to your existing customer base. These features can help you increase brand awareness, promote your value as a business, and get started on the right track targeting the right people.

Bottle POS can help steer you in the right direction with features that can impact your marketing, as well as all other areas of your business. Get in touch with us, and we can show you how!

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