Guide to advertising Liquor, Beer and Wine in South Carolina newspapers
South Carolina statutes regarding advertisement of liquor, beer and wine are directed at the individual license/permit-holder. “Department” herein means the South Carolina Department of Revenue.
Newspapers are not directly addressed by the law and are not subject to penalty for violations of it.
This handout is designed to be a quick guide for ad representatives and advertisers.
For further information, consult Title 61 or visit dor.sc.gov/tax/abl.
For bars, lounges and restaurants
Prices for mixed drinks, beer and wine may be advertised.
Brand names may be advertised.
The words “happy hour” may be advertised. The time span (such as “4 to 8 p.m.”) of happy hour must be included in the advertisement.
Happy hours can only be held between 4 and 8 p.m.
There can be no wording to the effect that drinks are free, less than half price or are two or more for the price of one. Words such as “special prices” may be used in advertisement.
Beer, wine or alcoholic liquor may be sold at a price less than the regular charges only from four o’clock p.m. until eight o’clock p.m. The prohibition against dispensing the beverages for free does not apply to dispensing to a customer on any individual basis, to any fraternal organization in the course of its fund raising activities, to any person attending a private function on premises for which a biennial permit has been issued, or to a customer attending a function sponsored by the person who holds the biennial permit. However, no more than two functions may be sponsored each year, which must be authorized by the Department. Any person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. (South Carolina Code Ann. §§ 61-4-160, 61-6-4550)
Advertising of special events
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person or organization licensed by the South Carolina Department of Revenue may hold and advertise special events such as bingos, raffles and other similar purposes intended to raise money for charitable purposes. This section does not affect the requirements for obtaining a bingo license from the Department. (South Carolina Code Ann. § 61-2-180)
Prices for pre-mixed drinks, beer and wine may be advertised.
Beer and wine brands and prices at the adjoining party store may be advertised. “Special prices” may be used.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a retail dealer, wholesaler, or producer may offer discounts on alcoholic liquors or nonalcoholic items through the use of premiums, coupons, or stamps redeemable by mail. (South Carolina Code Ann. §61-6-1560)
Brand names may be advertised. Companies such as Jack Daniel’s may advertise nationally.
Liquor stores may advertise in special issues or signature ads. They may list hours, location, telephone number and other legal information.
It is unlawful for a wholesaler (of beer) to purchase advertising for a retailer or to participate in a joint advertising campaign with a retailer. However, a brewer or wholesaler may advertise on a retailer’s premises and may purchase program advertising from a retailer at customary rates. (S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-930)
For grocery and package stores
Prices and brands of beer and wine may be advertised. Specials on beer and wine may be advertised.
For any retailer
- Illegal to advertise any subject matter, language, or slogan that is intended to encourage persons under 21 years of age to purchase or drink alcohol. (C. Code Ann. § 61-6-1510)
- Illegal to knowingly advertise a drinking contest or drinking game. (C. Code Ann. § 61-6-2230)
- Illegal to advertise alcoholic liquors by means of billboards along public highways and streets by using any subject matter, language, or slogan addressed to and intended to encourage persons under the age of twenty-one to purchase or drink alcoholic liquors. (C. Code Ann. § 61-6-4170)
Responsibility of the media
Since advertising is often the basis of an Alcohol Beverage License (ABL) enforcement action, it is helpful for an advertising representative to have basic familiarity with the statutes instituted by the South Carolina General Assembly.
What the regulations say
Federal regulation 27, section 4.64.8 (i, ii, iii) – Statements about alcoholic content of wine and beer are prohibited. The price of beer and wine may be advertised.
No person holding a license or permit to sell beer, wine, or alcoholic liquor for on-premises consumption may advertise drinks for free or at a price less than one-half of the regular price or on a two or more for the price of one basis.
Advertising at a Glance
Under South Carolina law, license holders may advertise the following in newspaper advertisements:
If you have any questions about an ad’s content or advertising rules, give SCPA a call at (803) 750-9561.