Can a Brewer Offer Consumer Specialty Items Free of Charge?

For example, a major brewer is providing convenience store consumers a free beer huggie (Koozie) when the consumer purchases a bottle of the brewer’s beer. The huggie is provided by the brewer not the distributor.

The “of value” section applies to giving of things of value to the retailer.  It does not apply to consumer advertising specialties that are clearly documented on an invoice as promotional items intended for consumer use. These items cannot be resold by the retailer nor can they be personally used by the retailer or retailer’s employees. 

As this policy is applied to a recent example, a manufacturer can provide a huggie (Koozie) to a convenience store retailer as part of a consumer promotion as long as the distributor’s invoice clearly documents that the huggies (Koozies) are for a consumer promotion and there is other evidence of the promotion at the store.  In this case, the distributor’s invoice should say “50 Bud Coolies for “Buy 2 25oz Cans, Get a Complimentary Coolie” Promotion- N/C.”  There should also be some other evidence of the promotion in the store like signage displayed that advertises the free consumer item at or near the beer display area.   (i.e. “See Cashier at checkout for free Huggie.”)

At no time may a brewer or distributor advertise free alcoholic liquor (i.e. “Buy 1 12 ounce bottle of Brand X Beer – get the second free.”

Matt Tanaka

Matt Tanaka is a digital marketer who lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife Laura and their incredibly lazy French Bulldog, Bento. He is an experienced writer, obsessive planner and firm believer in the ability of digital tools to connect brands with their audiences.