Alcohol Advertising Restrictions

Alcohol Advertising Restrictions

By Dani Chudler

Paid Media Specialist, Speakeasy Co.

Since 2020 and the beginning of the global pandemic, e-commerce has grown exponentially as a source of income for all industries and a source of shopping satisfaction for customers. The numbers reflect within the alcohol industry, sales being 131% greater since 2019. Direct to Consumer (DTC) online sales increased by 73% in 2020 alone.

The fact of the matter is that alcohol e-commerce is here to stay. Of course, in order for a brand to reach new success in the industry, advertisements must be compliant to rules and regulations. While advertising alcoholic beverages is welcomed on Google sites, Meta, Snapchat, and Twitter, keep in mind TikTok has banned this promotion altogether.

Before you begin marketing for your unique, new wine and spirits, familiarize with the following advertising restrictions.

‘Of Age’ Marketing

Simply put, do not publish alcohol advertisements directed to audiences under 21 in the U.S., or under the legal drinking age in other countries.

As you will see on alcohol brands’ online shops, they abide to law by adding an age gate pop-up, which attempts to confirm the consumer’s age before entering the site.

Platforms such as Meta and Google implement softwares to review ads before posting to ensure compliancy to their policies. An alcohol ad set to display in U.S. markets under the age of 21 will be immediately disapproved. Consistent disapprovals can negatively affect your overall account performance. Repeated policy violations can lead to account suspension.


Most alcohol brands and advertisers have agreed to comply to regulatory codes from one of the following:

  • Distilled Spirits Council
  • Beer Institute
  • Wine Institute

Together, these alcohol trade associations discourage promotion of underage drinking. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) along with each association agree that 70% of alcohol-related ad viewers must be over the age of 21. This can easily be done when placing your ads online and filtering your target audience

Physical alcohol advertisements, such as print or billboards, are prohibited from being placed in areas with a lot of underage traffic. For example, public playgrounds, churches, or schools.

Misinformation & Misuse

Source: Kelsey Chance | Unsplash

It’s common for alcohol ads to display parties, bars, and the general notion of having a good time. While most of us enjoy the social aspect of alcohol, it is prohibited to display intoxication or other forms of misuse in your wine and spirits ads.

Additionally, deception and false claims of a product are subject to disapproval. Twitter and Snapchat are known to be more strict with disapprovals when it comes to misinformation and misuse. Here are some examples to avoid on all platforms:

  • Encouraging excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Glamorizing alcohol or the effects/intoxication it causes
  • Associating alcohol with operating vehicles
  • Implying health benefits such as sexual, social, professional, or athletic performance
  • Misleading viewers into thinking the product is a soft drink/non-alcoholic
  • Offering a “free” product with the purchase of alcohol.

Looking Ahead

Seeing a long list of rules and regulations can be daunting. We recommend reviewing each social media policy, not only to familiarize with the guidelines, but to ultimately determine which platforms will result in the most advertising success for your brand. Abiding by the rules will propel your ads in the long run.

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