Jump to content

website age verification


Curtis McMillan

Recommended Posts

This is a DISCUS guideline for responsible advertising. I cannot imagine that anyone involved in the distilled spirits industry would not use an age-gate.

Holy shit, I have been on the phone for a week with ATF, and no one said anything about Discus, Thank you Wes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Holy shit, I have been on the phone for a week with ATF, and no one said anything about Discus, Thank you Wes.

Curtis,

This is a fairly simple form script that can be added to your home page that simply re-directs a view if they enter a birth date that doesn't add up to 21. Kind of silly since any 12 year old would figure out that they simply have to put in a fake birth date, if it is not required by law I wouldn't bother. If it is, your web designer should be able to hook you up with very little effort (and cost) as scripts are available for free.

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know all the big boys do it. How many little guys use an age check on your website. Do any laws require it?

The age verification is a total waste, there is no validation of the claim, so why put it on the website? Why DISCUS has it within their guidelines is baffling to me. Better to have them keep their adds off evening television where kids are really affected than worry about the seeing a craft distillery website.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do a little google search and you'll find DISCUS is nothing more than a bullying association, no legal grounds of any kind.

Go to their website and you'll find what they waste their time on. It's not promoting artisan distillers, or anyone else small for that matter. They apparently are just trying to keep the playing field level for the large groups who can afford to pay the big bucks to join. And you don't have to join in order to product.

They simply act as an over-ego advertising enforcement group without any legal enforcement abilities.

Here's a couple really laughable complaints they have posted, trying to show they are doing something constructive.

http://www.discus.org/pdf/Skyy_Vodka_Legs_Ad_REV.pdf

http://www.discus.org/pdf/Sweet_Carolina_Sweet_Tea_Vodka-10th_Semi_Annual_Report.pdf

Age checkpoints are indeed silly. And they can't do anything legally about it if you don't have one.

If you aren't carefull and laugh at DISCUS now you just may find yourself not being able to advertise if a child can see your beverage label sign from the road.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Curtis,

The addition of an entrance key on a site is to give the appearence of of an effort to comply with an industry recommendation. Not a legal aspect. Yet.

Go ahead and "Search" this forum for previous threads on many of the questions and response available. And there is a lot on here!! A great resource.

From the "about us" section of the DISCUS website:

"The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing America’s leading distillers and nearly 70% of all distilled spirits brands sold in this country. Over the years, the Council has served as the distillers’ voice on policy and legislative issues in our nation’s capital, state capitals and foreign capitals worldwide. Our strong commitment to responsibility is the foundation of everything we do as an organization and as an industry."

Every industry needs a vehicle to represent for its "members" on one hand, and on the other hand keep the industry as a whole heading in one unified direction. This is spelled two ways: Lobbyist and P.A.C. Annual Membership fees could be in the 6 figures. I do wonder how the "Craft Distillers" Division is doing. Could someone comment on a seperate thread to update? Are Mr. Maytag, Mr. Erenzo, Mr. McKenzie, et al, still the leadership on that division?

Cheers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know all the big boys do it. How many little guys use an age check on your website. Do any laws require it?

The TTB sent us a detailed letter reviewing every aspect of our website and Facebook page. They had some very specific changes for us to make but never mentioned an age check.

Cheers,

Keith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the alcohol beverage game, you have to be very careful about adopting an 'outlaw' pose. Better to make nice and follow the crowd. Compliance with industry norms, even when they're not legally required, looks good to regulators at every level. It also makes you look more 'legit' to all audiences.

Consumers, however, find the age gates inconvenient. Some people use a simple "Are you of legal drinking age, yes or no?" which I certainly prefer as a consumer. Presumably the lawyers who advise their clients to use the date-of-birth screen have their reasons, though perhaps it's no more compelling than making the wall just a little bit higher.

You also have consider how the New Drys like to claim the industry markets to children. Maybe there are still a few parents who manage to control what their kids do on-line and perhaps they find the higher gates helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The TTB sent us a detailed letter reviewing every aspect of our website and Facebook page. They had some very specific changes for us to make but never mentioned an age check.

Cheers,

Keith

Keith,

THEY DID WHAT!?!?!? Where's the TTB's jurisdiction with this??? Did you ask them to review your site or did they send you an unsolicited letter with changes? Can you list the changes the required you to make? Was there a penalty/threat if you didn't comply??

I don't like the slippery slope potential of this at all....

-Scott

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the TTB web site: "The TTB Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division (AFLD) ensures the proper tax classification of alcohol beverages; ensures that formulas, labels, and advertisements for alcohol beverages are in compliance with Federal laws and regulations; ensures that labels provide consumers with adequate information on the identity and quality of alcohol beverage products; prevents consumer deception; and educates and provides guidance to industry and the general public on laws, regulations, and activities regarding ALFD’s mission and functions."

(Emphasis mine.)

A web site is a form of advertising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

RE Website

Chuck is correct- gotta make sure your advertising meets requirements and website is an ad. When we opened 5 years ago they sent me a letter saying our website was non-compliant. The issue they had was that we didn't have the statement of alcohol contents for our products on the site. We added them to the individual product pages and they were pleased. Guess we should do this on our facebook as well just to be safe...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It also makes you look more 'legit' to all audiences.

I don't understand what this means. Like there might be a real moonshiner out there that's putting up a web site to promote their products? Not very likely.

The only reason the age gates are there are lawyers. It's just that simple. They do nothing to stop an 18 year old from from accessing any alcohol related web site because these systems cannot verify the age of those entering the information. Any date earlier than 1990 works.

The fact is, whatever adults are allowed to do and the underage "child" is not, ensures that the "child" will want to do that activity as well. They want to be adult, or even feel more like an adult, and that's a natural behavior that begins pretty young. And there's strong archaeological evidence that mankind started drinking pretty early too, at least back to the Egyptians.

It's the way it is, but I think it's wrong that you can fight and die for your country at 18, but you can't have a drink. I'll stop now because I really hate stupidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keith,

THEY DID WHAT!?!?!? Where's the TTB's jurisdiction with this??? Did you ask them to review your site or did they send you an unsolicited letter with changes? Can you list the changes the required you to make? Was there a penalty/threat if you didn't comply??

I don't like the slippery slope potential of this at all....

-Scott

They see websites as advertising. Most changes involved alcohol content statements and making text statements conform to standards of identity. So we could not refer to our cranberry flavored gin as "a unique gin infused with cranberries..." nor make comparisons to port. They sent a letter... I do not remember any specific penalties but they can always threaten your basic permit. Some of it seemed potentially heavy handed ... can one quote a review that makes comparisons? It was easier to make the few changes and move on. On Facebook they wanted a statement of alc. % and "Distilled from Grain".

Keith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

The TTB sent us a detailed letter reviewing every aspect of our website and Facebook page. They had some very specific changes for us to make but never mentioned an age check.

Cheers,

Keith

If you still have the letter, would you mind posting it to see what specifics they described? Or emailing it directly if you prefer?

It seems ludicrous that you "aren't allowed" to use your choice of verbiage in the flavor profile of your product..... especially when big co's produce product flavors like Cotton Candy, Whipped Cream, BubbleGum, and S'mores. Clearly flavored-aimed for a youthful pallet...

Cheers,

Aaron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TTB just issued a Circular on the use of social media in advertising beverage alcohol: http://www.ttb.gov/industry_circulars/archives/2013/13-01.html

In short, they say that any media used by a TTB-regulated industry member that's intended to induce sales is subject to TTB regulations and must contain the standard required statements.

But also - what's noteworthy to me is that TTB did not pick up DISCUS' "basic principle" of age affirmation. To me, this says that at some point TTB rule-writers thought about it, decided it was too inane, and dropped it. Good for them! Let's all now discontinue this particular charade (unless of your course your state says otherwise, which would be new to me).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Curtis,

The addition of an entrance key on a site is to give the appearence of of an effort to comply with an industry recommendation. Not a legal aspect. Yet.

Go ahead and "Search" this forum for previous threads on many of the questions and response available. And there is a lot on here!! A great resource.

From the "about us" section of the DISCUS website:

"The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing America's leading distillers and nearly 70% of all distilled spirits brands sold in this country. Over the years, the Council has served as the distillers' voice on policy and legislative issues in our nation's capital, state capitals and foreign capitals worldwide. Our strong commitment to responsibility is the foundation of everything we do as an organization and as an industry."

Every industry needs a vehicle to represent for its "members" on one hand, and on the other hand keep the industry as a whole heading in one unified direction. This is spelled two ways: Lobbyist and P.A.C. Annual Membership fees could be in the 6 figures. I do wonder how the "Craft Distillers" Division is doing. Could someone comment on a seperate thread to update? Are Mr. Maytag, Mr. Erenzo, Mr. McKenzie, et al, still the leadership on that division?

Cheers

Brian McKenzie and I are involved in the Council at DISCUS. Both us and all those involved in the effort to develop our re-emerging industry nationwide believe there needs be a independent industry association representing the so-called "craft" distillers of the US. ADI has served as the de facto association in the absence of any other, but now the AMERICAN CRAFT DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION has stepped up to the plate. It is a not for profit industry owned and operated organization and will address concerns of DSP permit holders. TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS is a member of the ACDA, we are also members of ADI and of the DISCUS Craft Distillers Council; we have associated with both DISCUS and ACDA as dues paying members because we want to have a seat at the table when DISCUS is addressing matters which concern me and my business. From time to time Craft Distilling will not share the positions taken by the larger industrial producers which dominate DISCUS. At those times it may be necessary to divorce the Craft Distilleries opinions from DISCUS. It is counter productive to strike an antagonistic posture from either organization. Both can profit by working together and by retaining their individual identities, and speak for themselves as necessary. I suppose one could characterize DISCUS as "bullying". But the fact is, though we may all be low budget, small, family run, agricultural in nature, struggling in the high competitive environment of alcohol, though the DISCUS membership has very deep pockets indeed; we hold a very strong hand in this game. The Craft Distillers and the industrial producers need each other. Slinging mud gets everyone dirty. The members of the DISCUS Council have benefited by their membership through a variety of Legislative conference opportunities coupled with orchestrated visits to Legislators in their offices in DC. DISCUS has included the Craft members in a number of international trade missions underwritten by the US DEPT OF AGRICULTURE. Like it or not DISCUS is a strongly positioned advocate for the spirits industry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ralph, Fully agree with what you have expressed. It does beg a question, what will be the craft distillers, via the ACDA, position on website age verification? Will we choose to follow their policy, or adopt our own. Effectively, that becomes the import of this thread in the context of your posting, correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you ever get accused of marketing to those underage, you will need to show that you follow all "generally accepted" practices to prevent the accusers from getting a point, even if it's public opinion. You can argue "generally accepted" forever, but if you fail to have an age-gate on your website, you're giving them ammunition. I'm not going to argue the idea that it's ineffective, but to me it's a no-brainer to follow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...