New social media rules for Washington breweries now in effect


Attention breweries: you are now free to tweet at will!

Until yesterday, Washington’s liquor laws included rules forbidding breweries from promoting events via their social media channels. The rules pertained to events at pubs, festivals, charity fundraisers, and so on, but not events at the brewery’s own location. The pub or festival organizers could promote the event, but the brewery could not. Well, as of yesterday, thanks to the work of the Washington Brewers Guild and the Liquor and Cannabis Board, the rules have changed.

Consider the example of a brewers night event at the local pub. While the pub itself could promote the event on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the brewery could not. Although it sounds rather backward, there was some rationale behind the rules. It has to do with tied-house laws, a tangled mess of rules intended to prevent “pay for play” in the booze business. The new rules address the same concern.

The rules have been loosened up considerably now. So what does this mean for beer consumers? It means a brewery can now more freely use its social media channels to tell you about the events in which it is involved.

The Washington Brewers Guild provides the following guidelines:

  • Breweries or their licensed representatives may use their web sites or social media accounts to post, repost, or share promotional information or images about events featuring products of their own production.
  • The events include those held at an on-premise retailer’s location (bar, restaurant, bottle shops- think brewer’s nights).
  • These events also include Special Occasion License events.
  • The promotional information may include links to purchase event tickets.
  • Breweries may not pay a third party to enhance viewership of a post.
  • A retailer cannot require a brewery to make posts as a condition of participating in an event at their retail location.