Beverage makers selling wine, beer and spirits using the freewheeling world of social media are being gently reined in 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 specializing 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.”