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Virginia, Maryland Breweries Now Allowed to Sell Pints to Customers

Thanks to recently passed Virginia Senate Bill 604 and Maryland Senate Bill 579, each state’s craft and microbreweries are now allowed to sell beer for on-site consumption.

The Virginia bill, signed by Governor Bob McDonnell, grants Virginia state breweries the ability to sell their beer for on-premises consumption.  A House amendment added language clarifying that breweries could only sell beers they own for consumption at the brewery.  Previously, breweries could only give away free one-ounce samples, sell beer “to-go”, or add a restaurant (brewpub) where the beer could be sold.

The bill’s success can be attributed to a concerted lobbying effort from the state’s breweries and beer enthusiasts who argued that the bill would have many positive effects including making Virginia a more attractive hospitality destination for a growing population of craft beer lovers, would make it easier for small breweries to start-up and expand, and, because there is little-to-no automation in smaller breweries and the brewing process is so labor intensive, would create jobs.  After the bill signing the governor helped unveil a new logo for craft beer from the Virginia Tourism Commission “Virginia is for craft beer Lovers.” Virginia currently has 44 licensed breweries.

Maryland’s new law will become effective on July 1st, 2012 and Maryland’s law establishes a “Class 8 Farm Brewing License” which bestows on the license-holder many of the privileges held by the state’s wineries (except, notably, self-distribution).  To qualify, despite the bill’s moniker, the brewery does not have to be on a farm.  The brewery does, however, have to have a maximum output of 15,000 barrels a year and use Maryland-grown grains, hops, or fruit in their beers.  The law does not specify a minimum percentage of Maryland-grown ingredients required.

The license-holder can then sell or give away beer—up to six-ounces per brand—for onsite consumption.  Furthermore, they can sell prepared foods to guests and beer “to-go.”  Like Virginia, the breweries may only sell their own beer.  But unlike Virginia, the Maryland breweries can apply for up to 12 special-event permits per year that will allow them to host festivals where they may feature beers from other breweries.

The Brewers Association reports that in 2012 the United States became home to over 2000 craft breweries, the highest number since the 1800s.  In fact, the New York Times reports that craft brewing is one of the fastest growing industries in the state of Colorado.

For more information please contact Rosemarie Salguero or Andre Barlow in our Hospitality Practice Group, at [email protected] (202) 589-1834.

Redline Gastrolounge Debuts New Menu

Redline Gastrolounge, located in the former Indebleu space near the Verizon Center, recently unveiled its new seasonal menu featuring classic American cuisine with a French twist.

Redline executive chef Fabrice Reymond has created a visually and palate pleasing menu which includes Marinated Boneless Short-Rib Skewers, Ceviche, Gator Three Ways, and Watermelon Salad.


Photo Credit: Jack Conroy

D.C. Council Approves Bill Extending Alcohol Service Hours for Holidays, Extended Service During Inauguration

On June 5, the D.C. Council put the final stamp of approval on the bill permitting D.C. bars, restaurants and hotels to serve patrons until 4:00 a.m. the night before federal and D.C. holidays. This extension of hours is expected to bring in at least $3.2 million in revenues, preventing a deficit and a potential increase in taxes and fees.

As reported in our May 16th post, D.C. Council Bill 19-743, which can be viewed here starting on page 29, amends District of Columbia Official Code Title 25 Chapter 7 to allow licensed establishments to serve patrons one hour later on approved dates.  In addition to the night preceding District and federal holidays, the Saturdays and Sundays preceding Memorial Day and Labor Day will also see extended service hours.  Extended service will also be permitted on the Saturday and Sunday adjacent to New Year’s Day and Independence Day, as long as either holiday falls on a Friday through Monday.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s initially proposed extending alcohol service hours by one hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. on weeknights and weekends, respectively.  However, the D.C. Human Services Committee voted 3-2 to strip this proposal from the 2013 budget, described in our May 3rd post.  This vote followed the standoff seen throughout the district between several neighborhood groups in opposition of the proposal and local entrepreneurs, as detailed in our April 18th post.

This measure also includes the extension of service hours during what the bill designates “Inaugural Week,” which occurs the week of January 15 through January 21 in 2013.  During this week, licensed bars, restaurants, and hotels can serve patrons until 4:00 a.m.  However, these establishments must provide the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the D.C. Metropolitan Police with written notice of their hours of operation and a public safety plan no later than January 7, 2013.  These businesses must also pay fee for each day they extend their hours ($250 for a CN license, $100 for a CR or CT license, $50 for any other license).

For more information please contact Michael J. Kozlowski Jr., [email protected] or (202) 589-1834.