Breweries Say Instagram Keeps Removing Their Beer Pics and Won't Explain Why

The policy isn't making promoting small breweries any easier during an already difficult year.

An African-American woman takes a photo of a beer glass
Photo: The Good Brigade / Getty Images

In early October, Off Color Brewing posted a picture on Instagram to announce that cans of its Scurry dark honey ale were available in its Chicago taproom. The pic was pretty standard brewery fare: just three cans of beer that were surrounded by some seasonally appropriate autumn leaves. But for some reason Instagram flagged the post for violating its Community Guidelines, and it was removed from Off Color's account.

"We tried to announce that Scurry cans are available. But Instagram was like nah, that's nudity. Or harassment. Or violent. Not sure which," Off Color wrote in a follow-up post that included a screenshot of their warning from Instagram. "But we're just gonna [...] announce again that Scurry cans are now available at Mousetrap."

What happened to Off Color isn't an isolated incident. In the past few weeks, Angry Chair Brewing in Tampa, Florida; Line Creek Brewing in Atlanta; New Trail Brewing in Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Vitamin Sea Brewing in Weymouth, Massachusetts have also reported having posts removed — sometimes on multiple occasions. "Apparently we can't tell you that we have Imperial Seven Bells Holiday Cookie bottles tomorrow, or maybe we can….not really sure," Vitamin Sea sighed last week.

In a post on the Beer Advocate community forums, the Marketing Manager for Austin's Live Oak brewing wrote that they'd previously had posts removed due to algorithm errors — on a couple of occasions, Instagram may have mistaken fresh hops for marijuana — but something else seems to be happening now.

"I had to go back and look at our account status because we had two posts removed within two days of each other," they wrote. "One was a photo uploaded the same day, another was from months before [...] Once the report came through, I immediately requested a review because both beers are taproom only releases. They have been under review since 10/18 and 10/20."

According to The Independent, some breweries in England have had their pics pulled, too. Breweries in Cornwall, Leeds, and Salford have all received warnings from the platform because they've posted photos of beer cans or other beer-related imagery.

"After the first post removal, we decided to ask Instagram for a review of the decision as we didn't understand why it got removed — but we never received any answer from them," Timothé Duquenne, a marketing and communication manager for Verdant Brewing Company, told the outlet. "We then tried posting it again with the same picture and caption, and the new post got removed as well."

There doesn't seem to be much recourse for the breweries whose posts have been flagged or removed; asking for a review of the decision doesn't seem to work and, since some of these posts are promoting limited-edition releases or special events, by the time someone explained what happened, it would be too late anyway.

Food & Wine has reached out to Instagram for comment but, as of this writing, we have not received a response. It's also difficult to know which "Community Guidelines" are allegedly being violated. Its Guidelines say that "buying or selling firearms, alcohol, and tobacco products between private individuals" is not allowed, but that's not what's happening here.

The Community Standards for Restricted Goods and Services regarding Instagram's parent company Meta state that "Brick-and-mortar and online retailers may promote firearms, alcohol, and tobacco items available for sale off of our services; however, we restrict visibility of this content for minors."

The Community Standards also state that the company allows "discussions about the sale of these goods in stores or by online retailers." The guidelines note that only "legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, websites or brands, or a private individual sharing content on behalf of legitimate brick-and-mortar entities" are allowed to post about the sale or purchase of alcohol.

Until it's sorted out, this situation is understandably frustrating for the breweries and taprooms trying to promote their businesses in an already off year. And as much as it may make them want to crack open a cold beer, apparently they shouldn't post a picture of it.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles