Advertising your Happy Hour, legally!

Happy Hour Advertising - ABC Consulting

Advertising Happy Hours & Alcoholic Beverages – while staying compliant!

“Happy hour” is defined as a specified period of time during which alcoholic beverages are sold at prices reduced from the customary price established by a retail licensee.

Advertising Happy Hour and Alcoholic Beverages - ABC Consulting

This is important to you, why? Because you can now advertise your Happy Hour! In fact, you have been able to do it, since July 2019! We just want to make sure that you are doing it, LEGALLY. ABC Consulting is all about keeping things legal and compliant. Here are your guidelines:

Acceptable Advertising

  • Include prices
  • Use creative terms such as “Wine Down Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”
  • List specifi­c drink types and brands
  • Promote drink specials in advertisements, flyers, posters, social media, and website Promote the time span of happy hour
  • Photos of alcoholic beverages (in bottles or glasses)
  • Photos of tap handles with logos are allowed on social media. Example: “We have 20 specialty brews on tap including….”
  • Licensees may advertise alcoholic beverage products they carry, regular prices of drinks, wine pairings, descriptions of signature cocktails, etc.

Unacceptable Advertising:

  • Happy hour may not be offered between 9pm to 2am
  • Happy hour specials may not promote over-consumption or underage drinking
  • Advertising “2-for-1” and “bottomless” drink specials are illegal
  • Being lewd or obscene
  • Mentioning the intoxicating effects of alcohol
  • Being false or misleading, or implying any therapeutic effects from drinking

FAQs

  • Can photos of alcoholic beverages be posted on a licensee’s website or social media including bottles that display brands and photos of beer/wine/cocktails by the glass? What about tap handles with logos?
    • Yes, photos of alcoholic beverages, in bottles or glasses, and tap handles with logos are allowed on websites and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Licensees may advertise alcoholic beverage products they carry (“we have 20 specialty brews on tap including…”), regular prices of drinks, wine pairings, descriptions of signature cocktails, etc.
  • What’s the official rule for advertising alcoholic beverages on a licensee’s website or social media?
    • Licensees may advertise alcoholic beverage products they carry, regular prices of drinks, wine pairings, descriptions of signature cocktails, etc. This may include photos of alcoholic beverages, in bottles or glasses, and tap handles with logos.
  • May we advertise a specific brand name?
    • Advertisements cannot reference any manufacturer or wholesaler in response to payment by the manufacturer or wholesaler—in other words: it is not permitted for a manufacturer to pay a licensee to advertise a product by name.

*Disclaimer: This article and its contents represent the opinions of the author only and is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC Consulting is a private consulting firm, in no way do we represent the VA ABC Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice, based upon your situation.

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