Our Advisory Service is always here for you to give advice on the packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

Since the lockdown started, we’ve had a few enquiries about how to offer product samples responsibly.  Promoters are turning to online platforms and home delivery services to enable consumers to try new products.  There is a particular risk that we’d like you to consider before you run a sampling promotion this way.

Our guidance on sampling says that promoters should:

Only offer samples to people who are over the age of 18. If in doubt ask for proof of age (driving licence, passport or PASS-accredited proof of age card). If proof of age cannot be supplied and you have any doubts as to whether the person is over 18 then you should politely refuse to offer them a sample.

Under the current social distancing guidelines, most deliveries are contact-free and it may be difficult to verify the age of recipients.

Of course, it’s not unusual for alcohol to be delivered to people in their homes as part of their grocery shopping, and retailers will ensure that they do not sell alcohol to under-18s through their home delivery services.  But when a product sample is offered for free, on request, and delivered to the doorstep, there’s a particular risk that it might be supplied to under-18s.  We think it’s not enough to rely on online forms that ask people to enter their date of birth or tick a box to confirm that they are over 18.

If you want to send samples to consumers at home, you should make sure that you have a reliable way to check the age of the person who receives the sample.  If you feel that you cannot do that at the moment without breaking the social distancing guidelines, you should delay your promotion until you are able to do it responsibly.

If you’d like more guidance on this or want to ask about a specific promotion you’re planning, please get in touch through our website or email