Beverage makers selling wine, beer and spirits using the social media are being given guidance by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
In new guidelines, the federal government declared that sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are essentially new forms of advertising. As a result, companies selling adult beverages on those sites are subject to advertising rules, according to regulators.
“Social media just exploded in the last few years, and it seems like every week there’s a new way to get your message out there,” said Sara Mann, attorney with Hinman & Carmichael, a San Francisco law firm specialising in the beverage industry. “I think wineries and other suppliers have been confused and a little unsure about what they can and can’t do.”
Now, companies that advertise beverages on social networking sites, blogs, mobile applications and video sharing sites like YouTube will have to include mandatory statements on their profile or brand pages and refrain from making prohibited statements, such as false health claims.