Beer and Wine Advertising Laws and Guidelines


There are several regulations that control beer and wine advertising. I run into concerned independent business owners on a regular basis that aren’t sure what is allowed, so I decided to do some research.

In a nutshell, here is what I found:

  1. Advertising is protected under the first amendment and alcoholic beverage advertising  is regulated under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA) by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).
  2.  In general, advertisements of alcoholic products must be truthful and without deception. They must provide enough information about the identity of the product for the consumer’s benefit and for them to be able to make an educated decision about what the product is or what it contains.
  3. Alcoholic beverage advertisements differ based on type (beer and malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits).
  4. All ads require the class the product belongs to ( beer (ale,stout,lager,etc.), wine (red,white,champagne,etc.) and spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.)
  5. All ads require the name, city and state of the advertiser.
  6. Spirits also require the alcohol content (proof), name of commodity and percentage of neutral spirits.

Things that are not allowed in ads

  1. Misleading or false statements, misrepresenting data or health benefits.
  2. Disparaging a competitor, indecent or obscene representations.
  3. Claiming that alcohol is made or sold under federal or state regulation.
  4. Claims that wine or beer contains spirits.
  5. Claiming a distilled spirit is “pure”
  6. Any statement that is not consistent with approved labeling.

From Marketing to the Public:

Promotions and discounts are often popular ways to encourage a person to buy a product, and alcoholic beverages are no exception. Drinking establishments, such as bars and restaurants, often host “happy hours,” daily drink specials, or “mug clubs,” or run other promotions to enhance sales. There are often state regulations about what establishments can and can’t do regarding these promotions. For instance, daily drink specials are generally limited to one type of alcoholic beverage per day; happy hour may not exceed a certain number of hours per day or week; all drink promotions must end by midnight; and no alcohol is to be discounted between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m.

Wine Advertising

The wine institute has a series of guidelines for advertising wine. These rules basically require advertising to be honest. No claiming your life will be great or you will be healthier because you drink wine. No marketing to kids and pregnant women.

Craft Brewery Advertising

Statements of alcoholic strength or original extract for beer are generally prohibited. Using descriptors such as strong, full strength, extra strength, high test, high proof, pre-war strength and full oldtime alcoholic strength are prohibited unless required by state law.

The TTB prohibits advertising statements inconsistent with labeling. A common advertising mistake is to show a bottle whose label is not a faithful reproduction of an approved label. This can include using a label of a different size than the approved label.

Read more in this great article: Advertising law crash course for craft breweries.

Window Signs including Digital Signage

Many states have specific rules and regulations regarding signs and advertisements in retail  locations. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) published a 15 page report that reviews many of the regulations.

Retail windows are often coded and regulated since they are so visible to passersby. Some states regulate how much of the window is allowed to be used for alcohol product marketing. You can see the California sign ordinance here. The “Lee Law” is mostly is concerned with excessive window signage.

The new 2018 California regulations have hundreds of pages, here are a few highlights:

Gas Stations: No beer or wine advertising shall be located on motor fuel islands and no self–illuminated advertising for beer or wine shall be located on buildings or windows.

§ 25503. Prohibited sales, advertising, and promotional activities

No manufacturer, winegrower, manufacturer’s agent, California winegrower’s agent, rectifier, distiller, bottler, importer, or wholesaler, or any officer, director, or agent of any such person, shall do any of the following:

(f) Pay, credit, or compensate a retailer or retailers for advertising, display, or distribution service in connection with the advertising and sale of distilled spirits.

(g) Furnish, give, lend, or rent, directly or indirectly, to any person any decorations, paintings, or signs, other than signs advertising their own products as permitted by Section 25611.1.

(h) Pay money or give or furnish anything of value for the privilege of placing or painting a sign or advertisement, or window display, on or in any premises selling alcoholic beverages at retail.

Editors Note: This essentially means manufactures and distributors can’t pay for advertising at a retail establishment.

See the complete document here as provided by ABC

Hope this sheds some light on this complex topic.


Digital Signage Price Comparison and Cost Analysis

digifli digital signage at modern mouse

Digifli now offers Digital Signage

In order to come up with a competitive pricing model, we researched some popular digital signage companies and did some analysis. We decided to base our analysis on the first month (startup cost) and the first year accumulated cost.

We looked at several digital signage companies and used the pricing listed on their website. This is not a feature comparison but we tried to use products with similar feature sets.

Since none of the services provide the HDTVs required, and most did not provide installation service, we left those out of the numbers.

You will need to add the cost of purchasing and  installing HDTV screens, and installing the digital signage hardware into the equation if you are creating a budget.

Digital Signage Cost Analysis

1. Mvix  – Sterling, VA
Xhibit Plus hardware. website
Onsite Support: Not Available

Pros: The cloud software is free, so there is only upfront cost.

Cons: No onsite support, one year warranty, you have to set it up yourself, setting up three screens has the highest upfront cost ($2,385) of any vendor.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $795
  • First Year Total Cost: $795

Three Screens

  • First  Month Cost:  $2,385
  • First Year Total Cost: $2,385

2. Mira – Vancouver, BC and San Francisco

Digital Signage Software website
Onsite Support: Not Available

Pros: Hardware included in monthly price.

Cons: You have to set up your own hardware. No onsite support. No price break for multiple units.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $50
  • First Year Total Cost: $600

Three Screens

  • First Month Cost:  $150
  • First Year Total Cost: $1800

3. DoPublicity  – North Bend, WA

Model D8216 (Multiple Slide Player) website
Onsite Support: Not Available

Pros: You can pay $20/month or buy a lifetime license for $250.

Cons: You have to set up your own hardware. No onsite support. No price break for multiple units.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $370
  • First Year Total Cost: $490

Three Screens

  • First Month Cost:  $1110
  • First Year Total Cost: $1470

4. UCView  – Northridge, CA

Professional Digital Signage Software website
Onsite Support: Not Available

Pros: You can use your own hardware. Only $20/month per screen.

Cons: You have to set up your own hardware and software. No onsite support. No price break for multiple units. You will probably need to hire an IT person to configure your system.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $140
  • First Year Total Cost: $440

Three Screens

  • First Month Cost:  $420
  • First Year Total Cost: $1320

5. Novisign – Tel Aviv, Israel
Digital Signage Player using ChromeStick hardware device. website
Onsite Support: Not Available

Pros: You can use your own hardware. Only $20/month per screen.

Cons: You have to set up your own hardware and software. No onsite support. No price break for multiple units. You will probably need to hire an IT person to configure your system.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $105
  • First Year Total Cost: $325

Three Screens

  • First Month Cost:  $315
  • First Year Total Cost: $972

6. Digifli (Pro) – Alameda – San Francisco Bay Area

Digital Signage private kiosk with equipment lease.
Onsite Support: Included with lease.

Pros: Lowest startup fees, included on-site support in the local bay area. Hardware included in fee.

Cons: Onsite service currently only available in bay area.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $49
  • First Year Total Cost: $588

Three Screens

  • First 6 Month Cost:  $107
  • First Year Total Cost: $1284

digifli digital signage at modern mouse

7. Digifli Community Kiosk – (Alameda/Berkeley/Oakland)

Digital Public Kiosk with community events and information.
Onsite Support: Free.

Pros:  Completely Free! All equipment, screens and hardware are provided and installed free. You also get free advertising in 3 additional locations.

Cons: Limited to 10 slides and the kiosk also shows community information for local events and small businesses. You can block any ads you don’t want showing.

One Screen

  • First Month Cost:  $0.
  • First Year Total Cost: $0

Three Screens

  • Not Available with free plan.


If you don’t mind having other community events appearing on your screen, you can get a free digital sign installed in your qualifying business. There are over 35 of these digital kiosks installed in the East Bay.

If you are into DIY and have technical knowledge, there are some inexpensive alternatives with NoviSign and UCView. Both offer low cost monthly subscriptions of $20/month per screen. You will need some technical know how and some time to get all set up.

Mvix has no ongoing monthly subscription fee, but has a very high upfront cost of over $2300 for 3 digital signs. You also have to install and maintain the hardware yourself.

Digifli pro has the lowest start-up fees when you lease the equipment. It also provides the most comprehensive service if you are located in the bay area.