www.yourstory.com; 14-02-2024

In the absence of government regulations around social media advertising of alcohol, alcohol influencers are here to stay. As they enlighten users with engaging content, marketers are turning to influencers for brand associations.


For Siddharth Krishnan, who hails from Bhilai—a small township in Chhattisgarh—drinking was a strict no-no till about five years ago. It is not only a taboo in his community, but alcohol is also highly regulated in his state, as several crimes are linked to its consumption. Cut to 2019, when Krishnan landed a job in advertising in the city of Bengaluru where wine tasting is a hobby and pub hopping is a pastime for many. Eventually, he not only picked up the habit but also developed the curiosity to know more.

One thing led to another and he ended up creating a social media platform for alcohol education and awareness. The self-confessed “alcogeek” loves to chronicle the history of beer, the origins of different types of liquor, and safe ways to consume alcohol.

“I clarify your doubts about alcohol & help you explore drinks from around the world, so that you appreciate it and not abuse it. Cheers,” goes the description on his Instagram page ‘Alcogeek’.

The content on his social media page is eclectic and engaging, enlightening users about all things alcohol—from why people swirl wine and the secrets behind absinthe, considered a mysterious, elusive drink, to what makes the best chakna (snacks to pair with alcohol) and how to sake. Krishnan scripts videos and edits them himself before pushing them out on social media. He has nearly 12,000 followers on Instagram. “Even though I have editors in-house, I take the time to do these videos myself. This is really my passion project … Which is why it can sometimes take even weeks to make one video,” he says.

Nitin Tewari, a bartender in New Delhi, too is basking under the glow of influencer life. Incidentally, Tewari’s social media journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There was nothing much to do. And we as bartenders tend to keep ourselves busy with what we do,” he notes. And that is what he did. Tewari started out by doing Instagram Lives to showcase what was hot in the market to people in his bartending circle. Then, through sheer word of mouth, his audience grew to include those who were not part of the industry as well. Today, Tewari’s Instagram page—The Bartrender—is followed by 4 lakh people, who are eager to learn unique cocktail recipes and simple bartender tricks that can be tried at home.

Tewari and Krishnan are among the several social media influencers who are dabbling in innovative content around alcohol and raising the bar with respect to awareness and understanding. The alcobev market in India is currently valued at $52.4 billion and poised to touch $64 billion by 2030, says a report by the International Spirits & Wines Association of India. One in seven Indians in the 10-75 age group use alcohol, according to a government survey in 2019. Rapid urbanisation, rising income, easy availability, and changing lifestyles and attitudes towards alcohol have largely contributed to the growing consumption of alcohol in the country.

With the influx of more and more young people who are eager to know about the best offerings in the market and cool ways to enjoy their drinks, the market is only set to grow.  “Most people who watch my videos are in the age group of 18 to 35. This is the population that’s online, this is a population that is the consumer now,” says Krishnan.

A win-win for marketers and influencers

Liquor brands are sitting up and taking notice of the growing tribe of alcohol influencers who command a loyal audience in a niche space. In a country where alcohol marketing is tough and restrictive, marketers seem to have a found a new way to market their wares, riding on the popularity that social media influencers enjoy and the unique relationship they have with their followers.

While the government has outlawed the promotion of alcohol via traditional media such as television and radio and surrogate advertising (using brand extensions such as music CDs or mineral water) as well, social media has gone unscathed and has emerged as a prominent way for alcohol brands to promote their offerings. YourStory reached out Advertising Standards Council of India for a comment on alcohol advertising via social media, but the body did revert to our queries. “Social media offers tools and features to brands that allow them to showcase what they want to, with fewer regulations and restrictions as is with traditional media,” says Sonalika Pawar, Founder and CEO of Bold and Beyond (formerly Meraki Creative), a social media marketing agency based in Bengaluru that offers marketing services to food and beverage clients, including alcohol brands.

Read the whole story at: https://yourstory.com/2024/02/alcohol-influencers-raising-the-bar-social-media-advertising-reels-instagram

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