Social media has become one of the most popular platforms in alcohol marketing, reaching a large group of people, often minors and young people, all over the world. A recent study by YesMore has revealed that several Big Alcohol companies are among Instagram’s fastest growing brands. Use of partnerships, advanced, travel-themed giveaways and consistent posting were the most prominently used strategies for rapid growth by the identified alcohol brands.
Driving youth and underage alcohol use, earlier alcohol initiation and high-risk alcohol use are some of the key issues linked with alcohol industry efforts to promote their products through social media. Bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship, and promotion are key solutions to prevent alcohol harm.

Social media has become a key marketing platform for alcohol brands. Social media makes it possible for advertisers to spread messages via consumers and to involve them in the production of marketing content. It offers new possibilities for interactive communication between alcoholic beverage companies and their potential consumers.

A new report reveals that alcohol companies are still seeing massive growth on Instagram, one of the most popular social media channels in the world.

YesMore Creative Drinks Marketing Agency has released a brand new report about the fastest growing alcohol brands on Instagram.

The YesMore Creative Drinks Marketing Agency specializes in creative digital marketing. YesMore works exclusively in the food & drink industry. It is based in Los Angeles and London.

YesMore studied 100 beverage brands from U.K. publication The Grocer’s “Top 100 Best Selling Drinks Brands” list in 2022 and tracked their Instagram followings over 14 months.

The report reveals the top three fastest growing alcohol brands on Instagram as Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and Veuve Clicquot.

The Big Alcohol giants behind those brands are Bacardi Lmited, Diageo, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Study reveals massive growth of alcohol companies on social media 

The top three fastest growing alcohol brands are Bacardi (Bacardi Ltd), Captain Morgan (Diageo) and Veuve Clicquot (LVMH).

  • Bacardi showed the biggest % growth in followers, with an increase of 75% between January 1, 2022, and January 1, 2023, with 169,832 followers.
  • Captain Morgan and Veuve Clicquot also had significant growth, with increases of 63% and 62% respectively.

During the study period, YesMore analyzed the driving forces behind the Instagram success of the companies.

The use of partnerships, especially where content is linked to relevant food trends, advanced, travel-themed giveaways and consistent posting are the factors for the growth of alcohol brands on Instagram.

The report reveals the Instagram strategies that seemed to work well for Big Alcohol companies to achieve follower growth: influencer partnerships, doing photoshoots that show the alcohol brand with trendy foods, and giveaways.

One such example the reported noted was the Stella Artois supper clubs advertising campaign. This was “a series of live and on-demand cooking classes.”

AdAge reporting lists ten examples of Big Alcohol advertising on Instagram that illustrate the key marketing elements.

Spikes in follower numbers were also noted according to time and season, the Wine Industry Advisor writes. Instagram follower growth corresponds to key calendar moments across the year and how alcohol brands deploy activations relating to these dates.

For example, Guinness’ total followers burst by 6% during March in line with St Patrick’s Day, whereas The Famous Grouse saw a 21% growth following animated assets use ahead of Christmas.

The study clearly exposed how alcohol brands have successfully spurred growth on Instagram with food content. Furthermore, it explains the fact that the ‘number’ is most likely the first thing people look at when visiting a profile, and has more influence on investors and buyers, being a vanity metric.

Alcohol in Social media: Key issues

Marketing by the alcohol industry is a major driver of under-age alcohol use. A growing body of scientific findings illustrates that alcohol marketing is,

  • Driving youth and underage alcohol consumption;
  • Causing earlier initiation to alcohol use; and 
  • Inciting high-risk alcohol use.

With social media and internet becoming increasingly popular, digital alcohol marketing has been linked to increased alcohol use.

The alcohol industry is acutely aware of the potential of digital advertising to recruit new and young customers, drive consumption and profits.

In 2020, TV was the medium that received the highest share of alcohol advertising spending, with 49.2% of the total invested in 12 markets that account for 73% of total global advertising spending. Digital ranked second, with over 24%, according to Statista. And digital advertising keeps growing in the share of spending it receives.

Alcohol ad spend worldwide in 2020, by medium 

The alcohol industry has used and is currently using all forms of social media including, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and more to portray alcohol positively, while increasing their sales and profits.

Movendi International has published more than 40 resources about the link between social media alcohol advertising, alcohol use, and harm.

The one effective solution

Bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising are one of the top three most impactful and cost–effective solutions to prevent and reduce the harm caused by alcohol companies. Digital marketing should be given full attention in such regulatory frameworks.

World-class scientific prove shows that “the most effective response to alcohol marketing is a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion, and sponsorship”. 

The underlying principle for action on alcohol marketing should be that children adolescents, and adults who choose not to consume alcohol should be protected from exposure to alcohol marketing and that they have a right to go about their lives in environments free from alcohol promotions.

The solution to protect people from commercial pressure to start consuming and to consume more and more alcohol has large support among the public.



Wine Industry Advisor: “The Fastest Growing Drinks Brands on Instagram Revealed