Can I Post This? Tied-House Laws and Your Social Media Content
WHAT IS A “TIED-HOUSE”?
WHAT ARE “TIED-HOUSE LAWS”?
Tied-house laws state that “a winegrower cannot give a thing of value to an on-sale (restaurant) or off-sale (retail store) alcohol retailer.”
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?
Why? Advertising was always considered “a thing of value” in the interpretation of this law. But, if you fast forward from 1935, we now operate within a previously unforeseen landscape that includes social media content. And it seems the TTB considers that content valuable as well.
According to a TTB Industry Circular, “content created by a third party (the retailer) and reposted by an industry member (the winery), as part of the fan page is considered to be part of the original advertisement (by the retailer).” Therefore, the TTB considers re-tweeting, reposting, and sharing another’s post as adopting the content as your own marketing.
Example – You are having a winemaker’s dinner at a restaurant.
On your social post, you can:
- List the name of the venue, address, email address, website
- List date and time
- List specific wines featured
- Have a link to purchase tickets
- Post a photo of the venue (new law passed in 2019)
- List the price of the dinner
Using the example of a winemaker’s dinner social post, you cannot:
- List specific prices of the wines
- Post a video of the venue
- Post any laudatory (complimentary) references to the retailer
When you are creating social media posts, other items that fall under the can not/do not category include:
- Direct viewers to one specific outlet that sells your product
- “Like” a post and repost from a restaurant that tags you
- Post any disparaging comments about another competitor’s product
What about multiple retailers?
You can list the names and addresses of 2+ unaffiliated retailers provided:
- The advertisement does not also contain the retail price of the product
- The listing is the only reference to the on-sale or off-sale retailers in the direct communication.
- The retailers listed are independent of one another.
- The listing is made, produced, or paid for, exclusively by the winery.
Clear as mud? We hope you’ve found this information helpful, and as a result, you can post and share more confidently and safely.
Nothing herein is designed or intended to constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.
The California Business and Professional Code starting with section 25500, is a great resource!