Alcohol Now Being Sold on Facebook

Is it really all that shocking that more and more companies are using social networking to promote and sell their products?

While that question should be answered with an obvious no, it could be shocking that alcohol can now be purchased through Facebook. Just in time for the fall, Magners will become the first alcoholic brand sold via Facebook.

If you’re not familiar with Magners, it’s a hard cider from Ireland. Production began way back in 1935 in Clonmel, South Tipperary by local William Magner. By 1946 English cider-makers H. P. Bulmer purchased the rest of the company and it became known as Bulmers. In 1999, The Magners brand was set up by it’s current owner C&C Group for an international product, despite both products being exactly the same. Recently, Magners has had increasing popularity across the world. They’ve also introduced pear and berry ciders in addition to their classic apple cider.

This move to sell a liqueur product on Facebook came quickly after Diageo (the company that features the brands Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Jose Cuervo and Baileys) announced a “multimillion dollar strategic partnership with Facebook, which will drive unprecedented levels of integration and joint business planning and experimentation between the two companies”.

The partnership between Diageo and Facebook checked out numbers from a study. Diageo’s five key brands in the U.S. grew 20% because of Facebook activity. During the last year the company’s fan base has jumped impressively from 3.5 million to 12 million and Smirnoff becoming the number one beverage alcohol brand on Facebook worldwide.

Magners, who have more than 60,000 Facebook fans, hope to capitalize on teaming up with Facebook as well. They want to use Facebook primarily to make people aware of specials, and, a sales channel, of course. “F-commerce is in the very early stages, so at the moment it is simply a great way to increase offline sales by driving trial,” said marketing head Kirsty Hunter. “In years to come, however, we may see more consumers making their purchases in this way.”

On top of teaming up with Facebook, there will also be a national press and food magazine campaign. The campaign will use the smartphone image recognition app Aurasma, which will activate interactive content when users place their phone over the advertisement.

Naturally, there’s going to be some opposition to all of this. Some believe that selling alcohol through Facebook will increase underage drinking, since so many young people use the social network. Magners assured those people that there is a three-tier system in place to prevent such a thing. This includes an age gate, which means no-one with a profile age of under 18 can view the page, and a payment portal that would only accept credit cards.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out. It’s obvious that businesses want to team up with social networks, especially Facebook. If this merger between Mangers and Facebook turns a profit you can expect more alcohol brands doing the same in the near future.

So, how do my fellow drinkers feel about this? Would you be willing to purchase your liqueur through Facebook? Or, do you still prefer to do it in person?

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