Vol. 30 Iss. 6 - November 18, 2013

Chapter 20
Final Regulation

Title of Regulation: 3VAC5-20. Advertising (amending 3VAC5-20-10, 3VAC5-20-60, 3VAC5-20-90, 3VAC5-20-100).

Statutory Authority: §§ 4.1-111 and 4.1-320 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: December 18, 2013.

Agency Contact: W. Curtis Coleburn III, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 2901 Hermitage Road, Richmond, VA 23220, telephone (804) 213-4409, FAX (804) 213-4411, TTY (804) 213-4687, or email


The amendments (i) clarify existing language, (ii) allow combination packaging for beer and distilled spirits, and (iii) prohibit the distribution of novelty and specialty items bearing alcoholic beverage advertising to persons younger than 21 years of age.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: A summary of comments made by the public and the agency's response may be obtained from the promulgating agency or viewed at the office of the Registrar of Regulations.

3VAC5-20-10. Advertising; generally; cooperative advertising; federal laws; cider; restrictions.

A. All alcoholic beverage advertising is permitted in this Commonwealth except that which is prohibited or otherwise limited or restricted by regulation of the board and such advertising shall not be blatant or obtrusive. Any editorial or other reading matter in any periodical, publication or newspaper for the publication of which no money or other valuable consideration is paid or promised, directly or indirectly, by or for the benefits of any permittee or licensee does not constitute advertising.

B. Advertising of cider, as defined in § 4.1-213 of the Code of Virginia, shall conform to the requirements for advertising beer.

C. The board may issue a permit authorizing a variance from any of its advertising regulations for good cause shown.

D. No advertising shall contain any statement, symbol, depiction or reference that:

1. Would tend to induce minors to drink, or would tend to induce persons to consume to excess;

2. Is obscene or is suggestive of any illegal activity;

3. Incorporates the use of any present or former athlete or athletic team or implies that the product enhances athletic prowess; except that, persons granted a license to sell wine or beer may display within their licensed premises point-of-sale advertising materials that incorporate the use of any present or former professional athlete or athletic team, provided that such advertising materials: (i) otherwise comply with the applicable regulations of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms appropriate federal agency and (ii) do not depict any athlete consuming or about to consume alcohol prior to or while engaged in an athletic activity, do not depict an athlete consuming alcohol while the athlete is operating or about to operate a motor vehicle or other machinery, and do not imply that the alcoholic beverage so advertised enhances athletic prowess;

4. Is false or misleading in any material respect;

5. Implies or indicates, directly or indirectly, that the product is government endorsed by the use of flags, seals or other insignia or otherwise;

6. Makes any reference to the intoxicating effect of any alcoholic beverages;

7. Constitutes or contains a contest or sweepstakes where a purchase is required for participation; or

8. Constitutes or contains an offer to pay or provide anything of value conditioned on the purchase of alcoholic beverages, except for refund coupons and combination packaging for wine. Any such combination packaging shall be limited to packaging provided by the manufacturer that is designed to be delivered intact to the consumer.

E. The board shall not regulate advertising of nonalcoholic beer or nonalcoholic wine so long as (i) a reasonable person by common observation would conclude that the advertising clearly does not represent any advertisement for alcoholic beverages and (ii) the advertising prominently states that the product is nonalcoholic.

3VAC5-20-60. Advertising; novelties and specialties.

Distribution of novelty and specialty items, including wearing apparel, bearing alcoholic beverage advertising, shall be subject to the following limitations and conditions:

1. Items not in excess of $10 in wholesale value may be given away;

2. Manufacturers, importers, bottlers, brokers, wholesalers or their representatives may give licensed retailers items not in excess of $10 in wholesale value in quantities equal to the number of employees of the retail establishment present at the time the items are delivered. Thereafter, such employees may wear or display the items on the licensed premises. Neither manufacturers, importers, bottlers, brokers, wholesalers or their representatives may give such items to patrons on the premises of retail licensees; however, manufacturers or their authorized representatives other than wholesalers conducting tastings pursuant to the provisions of § 4.1-201.1 of the Code of Virginia may give no more than one such item to each consumer provided a sample of alcoholic beverages during the tasting event; and such items bearing moderation and responsible drinking messages may be displayed by the licensee and his employees on the licensed premises and given to patrons on such premises as long as any references to any alcoholic beverage manufacturer or its brands are subordinate in type size and quantity of text to such moderation message;

3. Items in excess of $10 in wholesale value may be donated by distilleries, wineries and breweries only to participants or entrants in connection with the sponsorship of conservation and environmental programs, professional, semi-professional or amateur athletic and sporting events subject to the limitations of 3VAC5-20-100, and for events of a charitable or cultural nature;

4. Items may be sold by mail upon request or over-the-counter at retail establishments customarily engaged in the sale of novelties and specialties, provided they are sold at the reasonable open market price in the localities where sold;

5. Wearing apparel shall be in adult sizes; and

6. Point-of-sale order blanks, relating to novelty and specialty items, may be provided by beer and wine wholesalers to retail licensees for use on their premises, if done for all retail licensees equally and after obtaining the consent, which may be a continuing consent, of each retailer or his representative. Wholesalers may not be involved in the redemption process.; and

7. Novelty and specialty items bearing alcoholic beverage advertising may not be distributed to persons younger than the legal drinking age.

3VAC5-20-90. Advertising; coupons.

A. "Normal retail price" shall mean the average retail price of the brand and size of the product in a given market, and not a reduced or discounted price.

B. Coupons may be advertised in accordance with the following conditions and restrictions:

1. Manufacturers or importers of spirits, wine, and beer may use only consumer mail-in refund, not instantly redeemable discount, coupons. The coupons may not exceed 50% of the normal retail price and may not be honored at a retail outlet or state government store but shall be mailed directly to the manufacturer or importer or its designated agent. Such agent may not be a wholesaler or retailer of alcoholic beverages. Consumer proof of purchase (such as a dated, retail specific receipt) is required for redemption of all consumer coupons. Coupons are permitted in the print media, via the Internet, by direct mail or electronic mail to consumers, or as part of, or attached to, the package. Beer and wine Manufacturers, importers, bottlers, brokers, wholesalers, and their representatives may provide coupon pads to retailers for use by retailers on their premises, if done for all retail licensees equally and after obtaining the consent, which may be a continuing consent, of each retailer or his representative. Wholesale licensees may attach refund coupons to the package if done for all retail licensees equally and after obtaining the consent, which may be a continuing consent, for each retailer or his representative.

2. Manufacturers or importers offering refund coupons on spirits and wine sold in state government stores shall notify the board at least 45 15 days in advance of the issuance of the coupons of its amount, its expiration date and the area of the Commonwealth in which it will be primarily used, if not used statewide.

3. Wholesale licensees are not permitted to offer coupons.

4. Retail licensees may offer coupons, including their own discount or refund coupons, on wine and beer sold for off-premises consumption only. Retail licensees may offer their own coupons in the print media, at the point-of-sale or by direct mail to consumers.

5. No retailer may be paid a fee by manufacturers or wholesalers of alcoholic beverages for display or use of coupons and the name of the retail establishment may not appear on any refund coupons offered by manufacturers. No manufacturer or wholesaler may furnish any coupons or materials regarding coupons to retailers which are customized or designed for discount or refund by the retailer.

6. Retail licensees or employees thereof may not receive refunds on coupons obtained from the packages before sale at retail.

7. No coupons may be honored for any individual below the legal age for purchase.

3VAC5-20-100. Advertising; sponsorship of public events; restrictions and conditions.

A. Generally. Alcoholic beverage advertising in connection with the sponsorship of public events shall be limited to sponsorship of conservation and environmental programs, professional, semi-professional, or amateur athletic and sporting events and events of a charitable or cultural nature by distilleries, wineries, and breweries, importers, and bottlers.

B. Restrictions and conditions.

1. Any sponsorship on a college, high school or younger age level is prohibited;

2. Cooperative advertising, as defined in 3VAC5-30-80, is prohibited;

3. [ Awards or contributions Contributions ] of alcoholic beverages are prohibited;

4. Advertising of alcoholic beverages shall conform in size and content to the other advertising concerning the event and advertising regarding charitable events shall place primary emphasis on the charitable fund raising nature of the event;

5. A charitable event is one held for the specific purpose of raising funds for a charitable organization which is exempt from federal and state taxes;

6. Advertising in connection with the sponsorship of an event may be only in the any media, including such as print media, the Internet or other electronic means, television, or radio; by direct mail or flyers to consumers; on programs, tickets, and schedules for the event,; on the inside of licensed or unlicensed retail establishments; and at the site of the event;

7. Advertising materials as defined in 3VAC5-30-60 G, table tents as defined in 3VAC5-30-60 H and canisters are permitted;

8. Prior written notice shall be submitted to the board describing the nature of the sponsorship and giving the date, time and place of it; and

9. Manufacturers may sponsor public events and wholesalers may only cosponsor charitable events.

VA.R. Doc. No. R12-3235; Filed October 22, 2013, 1:36 p.m.