Missouri Liquor Advertising Laws Scheduled to Change on August 28
In January, a group of Missouri businesses filed and won a federal lawsuit on the grounds that a statute and two regulations enacted by the State of Missouri restricted their advertising freedoms and violated their freedom of speech rights held under the First Amendment.
Among the regulations was the “Discount Advertising Prohibition Regulation,” which does not allow advertisements of alcohol to include any coupon, premium or discount as an incentive to buy intoxicating liquor.
In March, Robert Cornejo, State Representative of Missouri District 064, proposed House Bill 433 to restructure similar provisions that have similarly restricted advertising freedoms of Missouri liquor stores, grocery stores and bars. If put into effect, liquor retailers would be able to advertise discounts on beer, wine and other spirits.
The bill would allow retailers of liquor and beer to advertise coupons, rebates, premiums or other promotional programs such as loyalty cards, in order to induce the purchase of alcohol by consumers so long as the advertisement does not fall below the retailer’s actual cost of purchase.
The bill was introduced in March and a hearing was held on May 2 where the Standing Committee on General Laws voted in favor of the bill by a count of 9 to 3. The Standing Committee on Rules - Legislative Oversight also voted in favor of the bill by a count of 9 to 2. According to the Missouri House Bill List, the bill is proposed to go into effect as law on August 28.
The passing of this bill is important for both Bixy and local retailers. In the past, Bixy hasn’t been able to provide coupon and loyalty services for these types of businesses. Liquor stores and other alcohol retailers can benefit greatly from these services, especially in an industry where downstream margins can be scarce. Once the law is in effect, Missouri liquor retailers will legally be able to advertise through the Bixy app, giving them the freedom to offer coupons, rewards and loyalty programs to their customers.