The ultimate guide to influencer marketing for alcohol brands

Want help devising and executing an effective digital marketing strategy for an alcohol brand? Our guide sets out everything you need to know
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Table of Contents

There’s an influencer for every topic nowadays and alcohol is no exception.

A wealth of highly creative and enthusiastic influencers are renowned for their love of wine, beer, and spirits. They know exactly how to make your brand appeal to their audiences.

Big alcohol brands are already seeing the power of Influencer marketing and spending in this growth area is expected to top $8.08 billion by 2024

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is the term used to describe the process of collaborating with an individual who has a highly engaged social media following. Influencers use their creative flair to promote brands to their audiences and motivate them to buy or try.

According to a recent survey by Vamp, 88% of consumers aged 18-34 bought products recommended by influencers in a six-month period, proving that influencer marketing is an effective strategy that no brand can afford to ignore. 

To find out more, take a look at our guide to influencer marketing strategy and this one on user-generated content.

woman on beach having sunset picnic

Specific challenges for alcohol marketers (and how influencer marketing can help)

Before the advent of social media, alcohol brands relied on traditional advertising to promote their products, often investing in expensive TV campaigns with memorable slogans like ‘I bet he drinks Carling Black Label’ that remain in the public consciousness.

While these tactics were successful in the past, people don’t watch TV in the way they used to. Many consumers spend a lot more of their leisure time looking at handheld devices than they do TVs, newspapers or magazines, so unless your brand is prominent on social media or other online platforms, it won’t be seen. 

The market is more crowded than ever and populated by many smaller brands. They may not be able to afford big budget TV or cinema ads, but they’re cutting through by harnessing the power of social media. Influencers give brands the chance to show their products in action, in real-world settings. Influencers can demonstrate how they mix the drinks, and talk about flavor, provenance, and other stand-out features. 

Influencers can also tap into the ‘at-home’ drinking trend that grew during the pandemic. While overall sales of alcohol fell in 2020 due to the closure of pubs and other hospitality venues, sales of RTDs (‘ready to drink’ premixed drinks such as gin & tonic in a can) actually rose and industry wide, the sector is now growing.

There’s also regulation to consider. Alcohol has to be marketed responsibly. Promotions must be aimed at adult drinkers, which can be difficult on social media where research shows that 13% of children and teenagers aged 11-19 have engaged with the marketing of alcohol on social platforms

In addition to only targeting adults, alcohol brands are forbidden from encouraging irresponsible or anti-social drinking. The Advertising Standards Authority rules apply to any drink with a strength of more than 0.5% alcohol. 

Drinking alcohol should not be linked with the following in any promotions:

  • Sexual success
  • Loneliness
  • Increasing confidence or popularity
  • Anti-social behaviour

Because there are regulations in place, you need to choose influencers with care, making sure they’re familiar with all restrictions and best practices. If you use Vamp to find your alcohol influencers, you’ll know that they’ve been vetted. You also have the added benefit of analytics to further guide your choice. 

couple watching sunset on cliff top

Benefits of influencer marketing for alcohol brands

There are many benefits to working with an alcohol influencer, including:

  • Targeting specific demographics – influencers often have a niche following, which allows you to speak directly to certain groups and in turn, increase reach
  • Creative content – influencers build their success with imaginative, creative content that people engage with. When you collaborate with them, you benefit from this creative flair. They’re likely to come up with ways to promote your alcohol brand that you hadn’t thought of
  • Communicating brand values – you can let consumers know about your brand values, such as sustainability, and provenance with a successful influencer marketing campaign
  • Targeting niche audiences – many alcohol brands use microinfluencers (those with smaller audiences) to speak to niche audiences. For example, low-calorie or sugar-free brands might choose to tap into lifestyle and wellness audiences
  • Smaller budgets – it’s possible to create a really effective influencer marketing campaign for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising
  • Reviews and demonstrations – young adults want authenticity from their favoured brands, and honest reviews and demonstrations provide that. A recent survey by Vamp showed that reviews and product demonstrations were the most effective methods of influencer marketing, with 41% and 37% of people respectively saying they’re swayed by them
  • Trust – many alcohol influencers are master mixologists or wine buffs who really know their stuff, meaning that followers are likely to trust their expert advice

Does alcohol influencer marketing work?

With 71.2% of UK adults drinking alcohol every week, it’s no surprise to see social media streams filled with posts about drinking. 

Here are a few examples of alcohol influencer marketing campaigns that worked.

Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin & Soda

Gordon’s campaign with 17 Vamp influencers gained 60,000 likes across 34 pieces of content. 

gordons gin being poured into a glass on a picnic blanket

Social Lite Vodka

When Social Lite Vodka set out to market their healthier version of RTDs, they decided to target the health conscious by working with microinfluencers who embodied the healthy habits the brand wanted to align itself with.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Social Lite Vodka Soda (@sociallitevodka)

Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier set out to promote their brand as something that embodies elegance and luxury, so they collaborated with fashion and lifestyle influencers who used the hashtag #welivegrand. Many posted multiple times, which meant the campaign was forefront in the minds of their audiences.

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A post shared by Katie Cung (@katiecung)


Want to find out what people are saying about your brand on social media? Check out our guide to social media listening.

How to find and work with alcohol-relevant influencers

The best (and easiest) way to find alcohol influencers is to use a platform like Vamp, which can match you with relevant, experienced influencers. Information about each recommended influencer is available on the Vamp platform, and you can also run, monitor, and track your campaign in one place. 

When looking for an alcohol influencer, you need to consider the following:

  • Make sure your influencer is over 25 and unlikely to appeal to children. Most of their followers should be 25+ 
  • Use somebody who is familiar with alcohol influencing and who has a clear understanding of the regulations and best practices
  • Find influencers who are great storytellers. They need to be enthusiastic about your products and invested in telling your story in creative ways
  • Spread your net wide and use different types of influencers; for example, some influencers might concentrate on how your drinks are made, while others might focus on how to use it in cocktails or talk about the quality of your ingredients

To learn more about digital social media strategy, read our ultimate guide to social commerce, and if you want to know the difference between influencers and creators, take a look at this article

The best channels for alcohol influencer marketing 

According to Upfluence, Instagram is the most popular social media channel for social alcohol marketing, and YouTube is the second most popular. Promoting alcohol is banned on TikTok as the demographic is much younger. 

To learn more about how social media can boost your brand, check out our guide to social media for business.

woman holding lillet wine glass

How to build a strategy for alcohol influencer marketing 

When it comes to building your strategy, you need to identify your goals. Are you looking to reach new audiences? Boost sales across the board? Drive social media sign-ups? Shout about your sustainability credentials? Your main goals will determine which kind of influencers you work with.

When you’ve identified the goals and are looking at influencers, make sure they align with your brand identity, and that they don’t appeal to an under-25 audience. 

You’ll also need to consider the budget. Using macro-influencers, such as celebrities or those with a large following, can be costly. Many brands prefer to work with smaller, micro- or nano-influencers as these tend to speak to a highly engaged audience. 

When working with influencers, make sure that their content presents your brand in a relatable and memorable way. Sparking positive emotions is the best way to encourage people to click through and begin their customer journey with you.

How to measure influencer marketing 

What you measure will depend on the goal of your influencer marketing campaign. Here’s some of the metrics you should consider:

  • Views and engagement – you can use your social media’s analytics tool or Vamp’s, if you’re running your campaign with us, to work out the reach of your campaign. How many people are viewing the videos? How many likes, shares, and comments is the content generating?
  • Brand mentions – how many people are mentioning your brand on a daily basis? You might like to split this into positive and negative mentions and respond to the latter accordingly
  • Conversions – is the influencer content driving social media sign-ups, website visits, and/or sales? Track the metrics for these before, during, and after the campaign. You can use affiliate links, promotional codes, landing pages, and other link-tracking tools to get a better understanding of where your conversions are coming from

Get started with Vamp

If you’re ready to get to work on your alcohol influencer campaign, get started with Vamp – a one-stop shop for everything you need. There’s a pricing tier for every budget when you use the platform for your business.

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