ABC submits new regulations on alcohol advertising

The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) commission is proposing to consolidate all prohibited alcohol advertisements into one regulation (currently, malt beverages and wine/spirits have their own regulations).  Fundamentally, ABC is proposing to make the prohibitive language more general which would conceivably give them more enforcement flexibility. It also appears the proposed changes are intended to eliminate redundant regulations as a part of the state government’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of regulations. A summary of the proposed changes follows:

  1. Repeal 804 KAR 2:015 – prohibited statements related to malt beverages – in its entirety. However, most of the provisions in this regulation are being incorporated into the regulation related to prohibited statements currently pertaining to wine and spirits (discussed below);

Proposed Revisions to 804 KAR 1:030 (prohibited statements pertaining to wine/spirits)

  1. General prohibition against advertising that is false, misleading, obscene, or indecent;
  2. General prohibition against advertising that disparages, slanders, or constitutes libel of a competitor’s product;
  3. Eliminates specific prohibition against material “concerning or illustrating family scenes pertaining to the home”;
  4. Eliminates specific prohibitions against: material related to analysis, standards or tests which the ABC finds likely to mislead consumers irrespective of falsity; any representation related to any guaranty irrespective of falsity that is likely to be misleading to consumers, including anything that would indicate that the consumer is entitled to a refund  if they are not satisfied with the product; any statement related to being “bonded” or “bottled-in-bond” unless such words appear pursuant to federal regulations;
  5. General prohibition against representations about an alcoholic beverage brand or product which is inconsistent with any label statement;
  6. Eliminates specific prohibition against advertising as to age or maturity of a brand unless the statement is contained on the label of the product;
  7. General prohibition against statements representing that the use of alcoholic beverages has curative properties, good health benefits, weight reducing efforts, muscle growth effects, or other similar representations;
  8. Eliminate prohibition against representing that a beverage was manufactured in or imported from a place other than its actual place of origin;
  9. General prohibition against depicting any flag, seal, coat of arms, crest, etc. that is likely to mislead a consumer that the product has been endorsed, produced, or produced for a government, organization, family, or individual with whom such flag, seal, etc. is associated;
  10. General prohibition against the terms “free” or “complimentary” alcohol beverages unless the statement references permissible coupons, samples, etc. authorized under the appropriate license;
  11. General prohibition against the phrase “all-you-can-drink”, “unlimited drinks”, etc. implying that a consumer will receive an unlimited number of drinks upon payment of a fee;
  12. General prohibition against taking any direct or indirect action to target minors; and
  13. General prohibition against offering or describing a product, service, or activity that is prohibited by Kentucky law; and
  14. General prohibition of any advertising that is prohibited by Federal law.

 

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