No U.S. state permits the provision of free alcoholic beverages and many states regulate the advertising of alcohol. Some states permit alcohol to be provided as part of the rate (e.g., the room rate for Embassy Suites Hotels includes a Manager’s Evening Reception at which alcoholic beverages are served).
As a general rule, any mention of “drinks” where an offer of alcoholic beverages is implied should include the disclaimer, “Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws.”
In addition, we should avoid any mention of “Happy Hour”, as certain US state laws prohibit the promotion of free or significantly discounted alcohol.
We should also be extremely careful when using “Evening Manager’s Reception”, “Manager’s Receptions”, and variations thereof. Despite being a pillar of the Embassy Suites brand, these terms are essentially euphemisms for “Happy Hour”, so the implied notion of free alcohol leaves us open to legal challenge.
- Avoid mention of “free alcohol & free cocktails.” Instead, consult with Legal in each instance about using: “Complimentary drinks included with your stay.”
- Promote the family, snacks and social aspect. Avoid copy that directly mentions or implies the period is intended to exclusively serve free alcohol. Remember that the “daily free drink period” is also for kids, serves free sodas, serves free non-alcoholic drinks and provides snacks for free.
- Be careful when using images that exclusively feature alcohol. Imagery can include alcohol or drinks, but this should not be the focal point of the photo.