Gin maker’s fight with Facebook a warning to hemp food and drink makers

Posted by Lani Thorpe on 21st November 2018

FACEBOOK has pulled a series of advertisements posted by a Tasmanian gin maker, sounding an alarm for food and drink makers hoping to use the platform to spread word of their hemp products.

Rex Burdon of Nonesuch Distillery, south of Hobart, posted a selection of ads to promote Nonesuch products, including a gin made with edible hemp.

And Facebook is having none of it.

Despite Burdon using Facebook to promote the brand for the past four years, the social media giant removed this series of ads without explanation. They were displayed for about a week and then pulled suddenly, Burdon says.

“We’ve never had any problems until recently when we started marketing our hemp gin,” he told ABC News.

MORE: $4.1 billion market for cannabis-infused edibles, could Australia join Canada and the US on THC?

In November 2017, the Australian Food Standards Code was amended to permit the sale of low THC hemp seed foods. Hemp contains no or very low levels of THC, the cannabinoid associated with the psychoactive properties of marijuana.

Hemp seeds contain large amounts of protein, essential amino acids and omega-6 and omega-3. When used as an ingredient, it delivers a flavour profile ranging from earthy, to seedy to grassy, or, as Nonesuch states of its Hemp Gin, even buttery in its finish.

While Australia categorises hemp seed as a safe and marketable food ingredient, this is not the case in all countries — which is why Facebook’s global policy is to not permit advertising hemp as a food.

Also in Australian Food News

Trouble for food producers

That could spell trouble for food producers hoping to use the platform to spread word of their hemp products.

“The policy Facebook has over hemp needs to be sorted as it could impact the hemp industry in general in Australia,” Burdon says.

“I know of four other gin makers who are producing hemp gin, and even the CWA [Country Women’s Association] are putting hemp seeds in their scones.”

Nonesuch has turned to its followers on Facebook with the issue, asking fans to share a post about Facebook’s removal of its ads in the hope of creating enough engagement to get noticed.

“We certainly won’t stop making any of our great gins but it is so very frustrating not being able to use the Facebook advertising to get the word out,” Nonesuch says in a comment on the post. “That is why we are asking everyone — and their friends — to share the post and hopefully get Facebook to approve our ads again.”