With thousands set to enjoy a long bank holiday weekend away from work, getting out and about between Thursday 2nd and Sunday 5th June, it presents the perfect opportunity for brands to promote alcoholic drinks through sampling. Whether it’s the usual fan favourite or an innovative new flavour, promotional sampling can be a great way for brands to engage with consumers.

To ensure that you run your sampling in a socially responsible way, and to avoid falling foul of the Code, you should bear in mind our top tips:

  1. How much?

When providing consumers samples, it’s important that you consider how much to provide.  It should be just enough for consumers to assess the taste and quality of the product and we’d therefore suggest that individual sample sizes are no more than 1.5 units in the on-trade and 0.5 units off-trade. The reason for the difference is that most people visiting the on-trade will be there to consume alcohol. As best practice, your sampling staff should be able to offer information about both ABV and the number of units in a sample. You should also have responsible drinking messages on display.

  1. Wow, you don’t look 25!?

It’s paramount that alcohol samples are only ever provided to those who are over-18, and you should ensure that appropriate ID is provided by anyone who you suspect may not be. You may think about employing a challenge 25 scheme, where anyone who is lucky enough to appear to be under-25 is age checked.

  1. The right kind of appeal

We know that alcohol producers want their products to be enjoyed by adults in a responsible manner, but from time to time they can inadvertently breach the Code by having a particular appeal to under-18s. When running a sampling event, think about every element of the activity from the name of the drink, the marketing materials and even where you may host an event! If it’s in a public place you should avoid using promotional equipment, materials or themes that are likely to have a particular appeal to under-18s.

  1. Location, Location, Location

When organising your sampling event, make sure you pick a responsible location. Think about if people will likely be driving to and from that location and have drinking water freely available. You should also think about whether the location is a suitable place for people to sample alcohol. For instance, while we all hope for a sunny weekend, it wouldn’t be advisable to provide alcohol samples at a pool, in the gym, or any place where someone is likely to be doing an activity that would be irresponsible after consuming alcohol.

Anything else?

There is a lot to consider when running a sampling event, and we know it can be confusing! So why not read our sampling guidance or run your ideas past our Advisory Service. The Advisory Service provide a free, confidential, non-binding view under our Codes usually within 48 hours – so get in touch here!