Educating & Engaging with Video

2016 Control State Best Practices Winner: Best Trade of Licensee Education Program

Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division

In today’s world, people are inundated with written, visual and verbal stimuli. In fact, they’re often drawn to visual messaging as part of their daily existence—they consume dozens of clips, videos and commercials each day. As such, visual stimulation is proving to be a solid means of getting your message across.

Just ask the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, our winner for Best Trade or Licensee Education Program. The IABD created a YouTube channel to instruct retailers and industry members, as well as the general public, on various topics, including the three-tier system of alcohol control, new beer growler rules and regulations for trade practices such as tasting, sampling and spending. This video effort has proven to be an efficient and effective way to inform and educate industry members, while allowing them to watch and share the information more freely.

Why videos? As Robert Bailey, public information officer for IABD, explains, the agency had just completed a revision and update of several trade practices and wanted to educate as many stakeholders as possible.

“Our experience was that circulating emails and documents wasn’t necessarily the most efficient delivery system,” Bailey says. “Plus, we figured that there were many other areas of the industry needing further education and guidance. Since YouTube is free and available to anyone with an Internet connection, creating our own channel made the most sense.”

The videos, which were primarily intended for industry members including bars, restaurants, brokers and reps, were also for public consumption. As Bailey explained, the videos are all relatively short and three of them (soon to be four) feature an on-camera host. The topics of this first wave of videos include: tasting, growlers, the three-tier system, sampling and trade spending.


“With the exception of the three-tier video, these were about the recently amended trade practices and clearly stated what’s allowable, what’s banned and how to contact the division for more information,” Bailey says. “The video on the three-tier was very basic and simple, as that system of alcohol regulation is central to every state’s policies.”

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division plans on adding more videos and information to the channel, with the next installation focusing on the Outdoor Service Areas and what’s allowed and disallowed.

“I think that video can be the most efficient and effective way to deliver a message, provided it’s produced properly,” Bailey says. “The fact that instantaneous global distribution is available through YouTube makes it more attractive and it’s certainly easy to link to the videos from our website—or forward the link via email to anyone needing more information on the topics.”

Maura Keller is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor. She writes for dozens of publications on a variety of business-related topics. When not writing, Maura serves as executive director of the literacy nonprofit, Read Indeed.

Honorable Mention: VABC Creates Licensee Newsletter

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control launched a new, digital newsletter in January, which maintained the former name (Licensee), but adopted a new mission to direct readers to the agency’s website. The newsletter includes information on training opportunities, contact info for agents and the department’s price list. Because the agency uses a double opt-in service that prohibits importing existing contacts, the subscriber list started at zero. After three issues, the newsletter has already grown to nearly 1,500 subscribers and boasts a 72% open rate, with a 26% click-thru rate.


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