SMS Requirements for Alcohol Brands

   Note: Note: Alcohol Messaging is currently in beta for Postscript stores on the Professional or Enterprise plans. To inquire about sending alcohol-based messaging via SMS, contact your Customer Success Manager.

While SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco--CBD included) content has been heavily regulated in SMS marketing for years, the CTIA tightened its rules surrounding this content in May 2021 resulting in SMS platforms industry-wide no longer being able to service brands who offer or communicate about SHAFT.

Postscript is excited to announce that, while working in partnership with US Carriers and Twilio, we are able to service US alcohol brands on the professional and enterprise plans starting in January 2023. We’ve put together this article to discuss the initial requirements of promotional SMS marketing for alcohol brands, explain the types of age-verification requirements, and answer frequently asked questions.

Benefits of Using Postscript as your SMS Vendor


  • Alcohol brands who partner with Postscript no longer have to worry about their SMS program being heavily filtered by carriers.
  • As a Twilio-preferred SMS vendor, Postscript is able to quickly address any potential concerns that could arise as brands and carriers navigate Alcohol as a new vertical in promotional texting.

Initial Requirements


Alcohol brands that meet the following conditions are eligible for promotional SMS messaging:

  • Located in the US and sending to US recipients.
  • On Postscript’s Professional or Enterprise plans.
  • Have basic age verification activated on their website (e.g. full site “are you 21+ Y/N?” prompt).
  • Have in-thread robust (full birth date entry) SMS age verification activated (note: Postscript platform provides in-thread age verification feature to brands who meet the aforementioned criteria).
  • Have SMS Double Opt-In and Keyword Double Opt-in enabled.

Age Verification


In order to use SMS for promotional marketing, alcohol brands are required to have site visitors clear a basic age verification (e.g. are you 21+? yes/no) before entering as well as a robust age verification (e.g. full birth date and year entry) in-thread enabled. 

In-thread age verification refers to an automated series of SMS messages a subscriber receives and can confirm that they are 21 years of age or older in order to opt into your brand’s promotional messaging.

After entering their number into a collection form or going through two-touch opt in, the subscriber will receive the following age verification confirmed opt-in message on the mobile device that belongs to the phone number they entered:

Shop Name: Reply with your birthdate in the format YYYY-MM-DD to subscribe to automated promotional msgs (e.g. cart reminders). Msg & data rates may apply.

Once the subscriber replies with an eligible birthdate, they will receive the confirmation message below:

Shop Name: You're subscribed to {shop_name} - msgs powered by Postscript. Msg & data rates may apply. Msgs are recurring. Reply STOP to unsubscribe, HELP for help.

As shown in the example below, if a subscriber is under 21 years old, they will be unable to opt into the shop’s messaging. Additionally, they will not be able to opt-in until their birthday is correctly formatted (YYYY-MM-DD).

age-verification-example (1).png

   Note: If your brand has collected a list of subscribers that you are bringing to Postscript, supplemental screenshots of the opt-in language and age-verification that was present at the time of collection is required when requesting a list upload. This helps your shop and Postscript ensure that there are records on hand to rapidly address any carrier concerns or subscriber complaints that a subscriber is too young to be receiving the messages.

FAQs


  • If my products are primarily non-alcoholic, but I also sell a couple of alcoholic products, do I still need to adhere to these requirements? Carriers consider any merchant who sells alcohol (regardless of primary products) as an alcohol merchant and as such will be subject to the above requirements.
  • Can we change the language in the age verification confirmed opt-in message (first message sent from shop to customer)? Because Postscript takes a product-led approach to compliance, we have carefully crafted the details and language of each of these messages in accordance with compliance best practices. To keep shops at the highest compliance standard, brands are unable to customize these messages.
  • Once we’re approved for sending alcohol-related content, can we also start sending promotional messaging about other SHAFT-related products? Your brand is ONLY authorized to send messaging related to alcohol and other non-SHAFT related things. For example, you cannot be approved for alcohol messaging and use your SMS program to promote a CBD-infused drink. However, you can be approved for alcohol promotional messaging and use your SMS program to promote brand apparel.
  • Can we use Text-to-Buy? Due to current carrier restrictions, Text-to-Buy is not available for alcohol brands.
  • Can we be approved for promotional sending if our alcohol brand is outside of the US? Due to international (including Canadian) restrictions, sending promotional alcohol messaging outside of the US is not supported at this time. If you are interested in sending promotional alcohol messages outside of the U.S., please let us know, including the specific countries and amount of customers your shop has in each specified country.
  • Is there still a chance we could be filtered? While there is still a chance that alcohol brands may experience filtering (consistent with all SMS categories), our team will work closely with you and our carrier partners to help you through an expedited escalation process.

Get Support


Have questions? Please feel free to reach out to our wonderful Support team at support@postscript.io or via live chat. You can also submit a support request here!

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