The U.S. government's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (commonly referred to by its initials, TTB) recently published new regulations on social media advertising for breweries, wineries, distilleries, alcohol wholesalers and importers, etc.
Simply put, any blog, Facebook page, Flickr, Tumblr, etc., maintained by a brewery (or winery, distillery, importer, or alcohol wholesaler), is now considered an advertisement. The 'ad' must include the brewery name (or winery, etc.), the brewery's city and state, and the type of beer (or wine, etc.) mentioned.
For Twitter feeds, the TTB acknowledges that 140 characters isn't enough for mandatory statements, so it requires those to be placed on a profile page. And, so far, unaffiliated blogs, like this one, are seemingly exempt.
The ruling does not appear very onerous, and, as of now, its strictures are voluntary, but that status can easily change. If you're interested in reading the entire thing, I've copied it below. ( Related: for a list of things a brewery (or winery, etc.) can and cannot say in any advertisement, read here.)
- Social Network Services (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster, MySpace, etc.).
- Video Sharing Sites (e.g., YouTube).
- Microblogs (e.g., Twitter, Tumblr).
- Mobile Applications.
- Links and Quick Response Codes
The regulations regarding prohibited practices or statements (in §§ 4.64, 5.65, and 7.54) also apply to social network fan pages. Any information or images posted to a fan page by an industry member, including content created by a third party and reposted by an industry member, is part of the fan page and therefore considered to be part of the advertisement. Similarly, TTB considers any information or images posted to industry members’ websites by the industry member to be part of the advertisement.
Caveat lector: I am employed by Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia. However, any views expressed here at Yours For Good Fermentables are my own, and not necessarily those of Select Wines.