Alcohol Influencer Marketing: The Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Creator Campaigns

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Group of alcohol influencers having beers

Alcohol marketers have always understood that content is king. Whether they’re tugging at our heartstrings or cracking us up with iconic Bowl ads, alcohol brands have always had a knack for playing into our emotions. 

But as the digital landscape evolves, companies need to tap into new ways of sharing their story and showcasing products to a broader audience.

For today’s most successful alcohol brands, social media creators are the straw that stirs the drink. Marketers don’t have to look hard to find influencers producing engaging content online. The challenge in alcohol influencer marketing is finding the ones who pair nicely with their products. 

What is an alcohol influencer?

alcohol influencer drinking two glasses of rose

An alcohol influencer is an online creator who has built a following around sampling, sourcing, crafting, educating, or exploring anything related to the alcohol industry. 

Influencers are masters at connecting with their audiences and producing relatable and trustworthy content. Most influencers leverage their industry expertise to deliver content that makes their favorite spirit accessible for any budget or mixology experience level. 

Alcohol companies leverage these creators to educate and build awareness around their brand. By getting their products in the hands of people who genuinely love their spirits and know how to have fun with them, brands can reach new audiences and produce content that resonates far better than traditional mass advertising methods.  

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Alcohol brands and beyond: Who can leverage alcohol influencers successfully?

While alcohol companies are the obvious choice to leverage alcohol influencers, they aren’t the only brands that can have success with creators known for their love of spirits. Alcohol influencers are known for their adventurous lifestyles and artistic flair, making them appealing for any brand looking to expand its reach. 

Some of the main industries that can benefit from alcohol influencers include:

  • Restaurants. Alcohol influencers are the perfect partners to promote a new signature dish or cocktail and the next local hotspot. 
  • Outdoor. Whether it’s a hot toddy with friends around a campfire or a cold brew after a long hike, alcohol influencers can find the perfect beverage for any outdoor event. 
  • Sports and recreation. Tailgating before an event or watching a game with friends is always a great time to introduce a new brew. 
  • Home goods and decor. No home bar or drink cart is complete without the right equipment! 

The best performing content for alcohol brand partnerships

Reviews

Some consumers might not think they enjoy a particular drink, but that could just be because they haven’t found the right label. Reviews are one of the best ways for alcohol brands to land in front of new audiences—especially if their product might seem intimidating to sip. By describing the spirit’s notes and providing unbiased recommendations, alcohol influencers can help their audiences broaden their horizons and find their new favorite beverage. 

Recipes

You shouldn’t have to be a master mixologist to whip up a quality cocktail at home. Professional bartenders have spent years perfecting their craft and are eager to share their passion with their followers online. The recipes they share are an easy and delicious way to try new drinks and impress friends at the next get-together. 

How it’s made

Some alcohol influencers go behind the scenes to tell a complete story of their favorite beverage and the people who make it. Leveraging these creators is a great way for alcohol brands to build a strong connection with consumers by showcasing the personalities behind the product and the care that goes into perfecting it.

The do’s and don’ts of alcohol influencer marketing

While partnering with alcohol influencers makes sense for brands in many different niches, there is a lot more to consider with these creators when it comes to best practices and responsible marketing tactics. 

Here are several things to keep in mind when building out your list of alcohol influencers:

Do plenty of research on a creator before reaching out. After determining your prospect is old enough to drink, take a good look at their content to make sure they are open to producing alcohol-related content. If you don’t see any evidence of alcohol in their feed, there’s a chance they aren’t going to align with your brand’s mission. 

Don’t choose an influencer with a young audience. Consider performing an audit on your creator’s audience to make sure the majority of their followers are at least 25 years old and interested in the type of content you and your influencer plan to create. 

Do choose your platform wisely. Each social media platform comes with its own regulations when it comes to alcohol marketing. Take some time to familiarize yourself with each and determine which platform will help you achieve the best results. 

Don’t promote unsafe behavior. Alcohol-related posts centered around vehicles, children, or any environment not conducive to alcohol consumption is a bad look for your brand and could turn audiences off from your product. 

Do your best to educate your audience and tell your brand story. Recruiting influencers as brand storytellers is a great way to generate honest product endorsements with a human touch. Consider giving your influencers exclusive access to your team and manufacturing process so they can tell the full story. 

Don’t limit yourself to one type of influencer.  You’ll want to educate consumers on all the hard work and quality ingredients that go into making your product, but you also want it to be fun. Pick influencers that can get into the nitty gritty of the production process, as well as creators who are just there to have a good time. 

Brands leveraging alcohol influencers on Instagram successfully

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean understands that some of the best drinks are enjoyed away from the bar. With that in mind, the outdoor clothing and recreation company used a handful of prominent beer influencers to help promote its “unbreakable” Silipint Glass so brew and adventure enthusiasts can enjoy their favorite pint on their next excursion. 

Banana Boat

Beaches and cold beer are combinations that anyone can get behind, as long as you play it safe. Banana Boat most commonly partners with lifestyle influencers to promote its brand but successfully reached a broader audience by teaming up with alcohol influencers who appreciate the great outdoors. 

Blanton’s 

Blanton’s leverages influencers to spread brand awareness and generate a conversation around their bourbon products. The company also uses local celebrity cameos like University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari to help extend its reach to audiences with more diverse interests and demographics. 

Top 30 alcohol influencers to follow on Instagram right now

Beer influencers

1. Craft Beer Deer

Julie Roesser, aka Craft Beer Deer, is a photographer, part-time nurse, and beer connoisseur. Julie uses her platform to promote the craft beer scene in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. She showcases the rustic scenery of upstate New York (and her dog Lilou) for a cozy aesthetic that pairs perfectly with a local brew. 

2. Edgar Preciado

Edgar Preciado is a Los Angeles-based brewer and founder of Beer Thug Life brewery. He is known for breaking down the “hipster” craft beer stereotype and concocting hoppy creations accessible to everyone.

You can also follow Edgar on Facebook.  

3. Craftbeeray

Craftbeeray is a San Diego-based entrepreneur who recommends the perfect beer for anyone’s taste. Craftbeeray is the account to follow if you’re looking for expert reviews of beers from around the world. 

You can also follow Ray on Twitter

4. gurl.lost

Milan is a California native and lover of all things craft beer. She pairs her favorite brews with an active lifestyle and a passion for experiencing life to the fullest. 

You can also follow Milan on Facebook and her blog

5. The Beerded Lady

Jennifer Alexander, aka the Beerded Lady, describes herself as a “pint-sized and full-bodied, with a hoppy attitude.” She’s traveled the world searching for the best beer and invites her audience to join her every step along the way. 

You can also follow Jennifer on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and her blog

Wine influencers

1. Shakera Jones

Shakera Jones’ platform serves as an accessible guide to the world of high-end food and wine. She hosts bi-weekly virtual “tastings” with the goal of breaking down intimidating barriers that often surround the industry. Shakera is passionate about opening opportunities for women and underrepresented groups interested in breaking into the food and wine space. 

You can also follow Shakera on her website

2. Richard Miyake

Richard Miyake is all about wine, food, friends, and his dog, Bean. Richard’s account serves as a diary for his favorite labels, from well-known brands to under-the-radar vintners. Richard’s posts encapsulate the entire wine-drinking experience, including the food that accompanied it and the company that shared it.   

3. The Millenial Somm

Isis Daniel, better known online as The Millennial Somm, is a certified Level 3 WSET sommelier, a wine consultant, and one of the most recognizable faces of #WineTok. Isis strives to inspire the next generation of wine lovers via social media, personal interaction, and education. You can catch her weekly #TastingThursday event on Instagram Live. 

You can also follow The Millennial Somm on TikTok, YouTube, and her blog

4. Laura Catena

Dr. Laura Catena is the managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata and the founder of her own Luca Winery in Mendoza, Argentina. She is also an author and part-time emergency medicine physician in San Francisco. Dr. Catena has been featured in numerous major publications, including Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Town and Country, and Food & Wine Magazine, among others.

You can also follow Laura on Twitter and her blog

5. Apwasiwine

Dr. Clinton Lee is an international wine lecturer, writer, and critic. He is a Hong Kong International Wine judge and the face of the Asia Pacific Wine and Spirit Institute’s (APWASI) popular social media channels. Despite his intricate knowledge of food and wine, Dr. Lee’s content is accessible to wine fans of any experience level. 

You can also follow Apwasiwine on Facebook and TikTok

Tequila influencers

1. Agave Lady

Agave Lady is a master mezcalier from Oaxaca, Mexico. Her content celebrates Mexican culture through the lens of the country’s most iconic spirit. From agave cultivation to mixing the perfect mezcal cocktail, Agave Lady takes her followers on a true Oaxacan journey.

2. The Tequila Wanderer

Nic “The Tequila Wanderer” is a former professional golfer and tequila enthusiast from South Africa. His motto, “tequila is only as good as the people you drink it with,” shines through in his fun and often hilarious content that showcases Mexico’s finest tequilas and the foods they pair best with. 

You can also follow Nic on Facebook

3. Lucas Assis

Lucas Assis is a Brazilian creator telling the stories of agave, travel, and craft cocktails. He encourages tequila fans to buy locally instead of from celebrity-owned distilleries and advocates for preserving sustainable and traditional agave distilling practices through his work with the nonprofit Tequila Interchange Project

You can also follow Lucas on TikTok and YouTube

4. Ash Lewis

Ash Lewis is an agave spirit specialist based in Denver, Colorado. She is best known for sharing delicious tequila cocktail recipes with her followers and living her life through “rose-colored lenses and high spirits.”

5. Cris Robles

Cris “Lady Tequila” Robles is a certified tequilier and sommelier. She serves her audience top-notch agave content with a side of music and fitness. 

Vodka influencers

1. Sarah Gualtieri

Sarah Gualtieri is a photographer and blogger based in New York. She started The Boozy Ginger blog to share her cocktail recipes designed to be easy and delicious for the home bartender. 

You can also follow Sarah on TikTok and her blog

2. Danil Nevsky

Danil Nevsky is a hospitality consultant and globe-trotting bartender. He founded the organization Indie Bartender to inspire and support other bartenders striving to advance their careers as independent professionals. 

You can also follow Danil on Twitter

3. Zack Prohaska

Zack Prohaska is an international bar coach and Canadian flair bartending champion. He offers his followers helpful bartending strategies and lessons on making cocktails with style. His company, Cocktails and Dreams, provides a step-by-step program on becoming a true bar professional.

You can also follow Zack on YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook

4. Queen Bee Mixology

Kelly Sparks started her blog, Queen Bee Mixology, to share simple, tasty cocktails to make at home. She invites her followers to explore the world of mixology with her as she makes classic cocktails, new concoctions, and shares tips and tricks from the pros. 

You can also follow Kelly on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and her blog

5. Tasty with Tyreek

Tyreek’s mission is to create an inclusive community around people who love cocktails. Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned professional, Tyreek will help you find great drinks made with easy-to-find ingredients. He also reviews premium alcohol brands and bar equipment to help his followers develop their bartending skills. 

You can also find Tyreek on YouTube and his blog

Rum influencers

1. Millie Tang

Millie Tang is an Australian photographer and award-winning bartender. Her mixology skills have taken her all over the world to host pop-up bars and participate in cocktail competitions. Last year, she was the global winner of the Hennessy My Way competition and named Drinks World‘s 25 Most Influential List. 

2. Cocktails By Adam

Adam Way is a mixologist whose exciting cocktails have led him to some of the most prestigious craft cocktail bars in North America. His content is full of inspired recipes for home bartenders to mix drinks like the pros. 

You can also follow Adam on Facebook and Twitter

3. Pamela Wiznitzer

Pamela Wiznitzer is a beverage consultant and “drink slinger,” traveling the world searching for the next great cocktail. She served as president of the United States Bartenders’ Guild—New York Chapter and has appeared as a guest on major television networks, including Food Network, VH1, and NBC. 

You can also follow Pamela on Facebook and Twitter

4. Join Jules

The Join Jules community is for anyone passionate about travel, lifestyle, and a well-crafted cocktail. Jules emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients on her mission to break down the barrier between high-brow mixology and at-home cocktails. 

You can also follow Jules on TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, and her blog

5. Moody Mixologist

Amy Traynor, better known online as the Moody Mixologist, is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to crafting beautiful and delicious cocktails. The two-time author specializes in fun drink recipes and beginner tutorials for how to make some of her signature garnishes. 

You can view a catalog of Amy’s recipes and garnish tutorials on her website

Whiskey influencers 

1. Served Neat

Served neat is a collaboration between food and beverage veterans Dale Parnell and Anthony Harley. They created their channel for people who enjoy trying new spirits and can appreciate the work of creating a truly good (or not so good) bottle of liquor. 

You can get more Served Neat content on YouTube.

2. A Girl Tasting Whiskey

Nadia is a former hairdresser who has been making her way through the wide world of whiskey since 2019. Whether it’s discovering a new bottle or just having a good laugh, Nadia’s journey has a little something for everyone. 

You can find more of Nadia’s content on her website

3. Whisky Consultants

Dion and Dennis are two friendly Dutch chaps spreading their love for whisky. They give unbiased whisky reviews and stories to help their followers pick the right bottle for them. Everything they try is relatively easy to find and accessible for most budgets. 

You can get more content from the Whisky Consultants on their website

4. The Scotchtress

Ericka “The Scotchtress” is on a mission to try all the scotch. After her many trips to Scotland, she developed a taste for the liquor and is dedicated to making scotch more approachable for people growing their own taste. 

You can also follow Ericka on Facebook

5. The Scotch Girl

The Scotch Girl is a whiskey enthusiast and educator “breaking boundaries one dram at a time.” She is the co-founder of Scotch & Whiskey Society 305—a group of whiskey enthusiasts who host networking and tasting events virtually and in her hometown of Miami, Florida. 

You can also follow The Scotch Girl on Facebook and YouTube

Key takeaway

Social media influencers are now essential for alcohol brands (and alcohol-adjacent brands) looking to expand their reach and introduce their products to a broader audience. Leveraging high-performing creators ensures your content ends up in front of engaged consumers who are eager to discover and experience new products.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can send alcohol to influencers who are of legal drinking age. Keep in mind which couriers allow you to ship alcohol and the posting guidelines for various social media channels.  

No. The U.S. does not allow anyone to award alcohol as a sweepstakes or giveaway prize. 

Reach out to the influencer to determine which of your products they might be most interested in. Then ask them if they are willing to receive a gift in exchange for a social media post. 

Be sure to personalize your note so your influencer feels like they’re more than a transaction. Ask them for feedback on your product and thank them for participating in your campaign. 

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