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Posts from the ‘Liquor License’ Category

ABC Board Summer Recess

From ABRA:

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) will be on recess during the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 19
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2

The Board will reconvene on Wednesday, Sept. 9. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will remain open and operate during normal business hours while the Board is on recess.

ABRA to Hold ABC Orientation Training on Aug. 27th

From ABRA:

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will hold a special training for new and existing ABC licensees from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27 that will cover:

• District ABC laws and regulations (including recent changes to the law),
• Tips for working effectively with the community,
• Settlement Agreements,
• Expectations of licensees,
• Best practices, and
• Noise abatement and sound management.

Contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, Aug. 21 to register:

• Call (202) 397-3971

Attendance for this class is strongly recommended for new license holders. Requests for interpreters may be made; however, they must be submitted by the registration deadline. Training is free of charge and will be held at ABRA’s office:

• 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20009

Montgomery County Council Backs DLC Reforms

Montgomery County’s public liquor control system requires private restaurants and retail beer/wine stores to purchase alcohol exclusively from the Department of Liquor Control (DLC) warehouse; thus, prohibiting them from obtaining alcohol from private distributors.

DLC maintains a list of approximately 29,000 products that can be purchased by restaurants and beer/wine stores.  Of that number, about 4,500 are stocked in the warehouse for delivery, whereas about 24,500, primarily craft beer and wine, are special order.  Consequently, restaurateurs and store owners are having tremendous problems ordering from the DLC, as too often there is product unavailability combined with low operations and processing performance within DLC.

Unfortunately, Montgomery County’s sales data has shown that county residents are spending their money outside of the county, with the per person in-county sales being about 1/3 less in Montgomery County, compared to Prince George’s, Frederick, and Howard County.  This makes it difficult for restaurant owners and beer/wine stores to operate in a geographic location where customers cannot get their choice of alcoholic beverages that are available in other communities.  Not only does this have a negative economic impact for our restaurants and stores but it also individuals who depend on jobs in these businesses.

With an evolving consumer environment today and an ever-expanding list of specialty beer and wine, the Montgomery County restaurants and stores need to be able to provide adequate customer service as well as adequate selection and choice.

In July of 2015, Councilman Hans Riemer, among other council members of the Montgomery County’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Liquor Control, has backed a resolution that asks Maryland lawmakers to move forward with this historic reform of allowing the 1,000 restaurants and beer/wine store owners in the county to be able to purchase craft beer and fine wines directly from private distributors.  Some restaurants and beer/wine stores today show that up to 90% and even 100% of their beer/wine selections are listed as special order.

The fiscal and employment impact on the county is manageable, especially if the county does an efficient job at running the department in a more profitable manner. In order to achieve that goal, the Ad-Hoc Committee has recommended expanding the number of county liquor stores.  Currently, Montgomery Count y operates 25 stores, and with the committee progress already embraced by the County Council and the DLC, the county will open up 3 more stores in 2016, followed by more in subsequent years as part of a “retail modernization” plan.

The Ad-hoc Committee also recommends that Maryland establishes a small fee on distributors for the rights to sell into the county, which is a simple way for Montgomery County to change how it claims revenue from alcohol sales.

The full Council’s actions  constitute a recommendation to the Montgomery County delegation in the state legislature, which has jurisdiction over liquor laws.  The objective is to advance legislation that will become effective in 2016.




Proposed DC Ban of Powdered Alcohol

A new bill that was introduced in June in the District of Columbia Council, proposes a number of adjustments to the District’s alcohol legislations.

The proposed law would make powdered alcohol illegal in the District of Columbia, following the trend in other states across the nation with similar laws. Should the bill become law, manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers in the District would be banned from selling, importing, and shipping the product. Retailers would be prohibited from refilling, tampering with, or diluting alcoholic beverages bottles or containers. ABRA licensees would be banned from removing or changing labels from alcohol bottles, facing still fines and penalties if found to be in violation.

Other proposals contained in the bill include allowing full-service grocery stores to sell growlers of wine, hard cider and mead, as well as allowing pub-crawl organizers to participate in the reimbursable detail subsidy program, with the purpose of improving security at such events.

The federal government approved the sale of powdered alcohol earlier this year; nonetheless, the sale of powdered alcohol remains subject to local regulations.

The bill is contingent upon the approval of the Council of the District of Columbia, Mayor Muriel Bowser and a 30-day Congressional review period.

The copy of the proposal can be reviewed online in its entirety. As the bill moves through the legislative process, ABRA will inform license holders about the updates as they continue along the lines.

Alcohol Manufacturers are now Allowed to Apply to Operate Outdoor Patios

Under new legislation that took effect on Monday, July 27th, wineries, breweries, and distillers are now allowed to apply for permits to serve alcohol on outdoor patios.

In accordance with the legislation, alcohol manufacturers that conduct on-site sales and are owners of consumption permits can now apply through the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for side walk café and summer garden endorsements.

Alcohol manufacturers are allowed to operate permitted outdoor areas from 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., seven days a week. Applications for the outdoor endorsements can be found on ABRA’s website.

Attend ABRA’s ID Compliance Training: July 17, 18 and 19

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is hosting a special ID Compliance Training for ABC licensees and their staff from July 17-19. Training will review:

  • Techniques for properly verifying IDs
  • Tips for spotting fake IDs
  • Information on ABRA compliance checks

You will only need to attend one, two-hour training session. Training will be held:

Friday, July 17

  • 9-11 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • 3-5 p.m.

Saturday, July 18

  • 9-11 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
  • 3-5 p.m.

Sunday, July 19

  • 9-11 a.m. (Korean interpreter available)
  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Spanish interpreter available)
  • 3-5 p.m.

RSVP for training by contacting ABRA Operations Manager Jackie Richardson at:

Training will be held at ABRA’s office:

  • 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20009

Four ABC Restaurant Licenses Becoming Available in Georgetown

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Four alcoholic beverage licenses will be open for application this summer for restaurants in Georgetown. Applications can be submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 25.

Restaurant licenses in Georgetown are limited due to a cap that exists on the number that can be issued in the neighborhood. Under the Georgetown Moratorium Zone regulations, a maximum of 68 restaurants are permitted to be licensed in the area. The soon-to-be-available licenses are the result of four license cancellations in Georgetown.

Applications for the licenses are available online but must be submitted in person. Any applicant must be the actual owner of the business. Businesses interested in applying can do so beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 25 at ABRA’s office:

  •  Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009

Completed license applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to the consideration of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Members of the public that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423. 

Message from District Of Columbia Government

Dear Licensee:

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is notifying you of a new District law that limits alcoholic beverage advertisements in the windows of your establishment.

Effective, May 2, 2015, all advertisements relating to alcoholic beverages can only be displayed in the windows of a licensed establishment if the total area covered by the advertisements does not exceed 25 percent of the window space.

ABRA investigators will be enforcing the new law immediately; however, licensees will be granted a warning for a first-time offense of the new law.

The law, known as the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2014 (20-902), went into effect after the Congressional review period expired.  Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill on January 26, 2015.

If you have any questions, please contact ABRA at (202) 442-4423 or [email protected]


Fred P. Moosally

New D.C. Guidelines Clears Operation of Certain Online Alcohol Services

On August 14, 2014, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (“Board”) issued new guidelines that will allow unlicensed websites and smartphone applications to provide alcohol services in the District.

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (“ABRA”) recently reviewed several technology businesses that partner with liquor-licensed retailers to provide alcohol order and delivery services, among which are Drizly and Klink, internet-based alcohol delivery services. The Board did not find their business models in violation of D.C. law.

The Board advises technology companies facilitating the sale of alcohol through websites and apps to limit their operations to:

  • Connecting consumers over the Internet to District retailers such as liquor and grocery stores; and/or
  • Promoting a retailer’s alcoholic products.

Technology companies are restricted from:

  • Soliciting, selling and shipping orders for alcoholic beverages;
  • Storing alcoholic beverages for sale to consumers; and
  • Collecting any money, fees or transacting any credit or debit cards for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Any credit or debit card information provided to a website or app would need to be transferred to a liquor-licensed retailer in order to complete the transaction. The licensee would also need to retain the discretion to process or deny any order.

The Alcohol delivery service, Ultra, which runs on a similar model to Drizly and Klink, was subject to a cease-and-desist order from ABRA in late June of this year. However, unlike Drizly and Klink, Ultra acts as the collector of customers’ payments before forwarding the amount, minus its commission, to its partner D.C. liquor stores.

A technology company that violates D.C. law could be subject to criminal and civil penalties as well as an order to cease operations in the District.  A licensed retailer that violates the law could face fines and possible suspension or revocation of its license.

ABRA Issues Cease and Desist Order to Online Alcohol Vendor

On June 26, 2014, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (“ABRA”) issued a cease-and-desist order against an online business that sells alcoholic beverages in the District of Columbia as a third-party without a license. 

ABRA issued the order to online alcohol vendor Ultra for selling alcoholic beverages in Washington, D.C. without a license. Ultra partners with local liquor stores to deliver alcohol directly to local consumers.  Consumer pays Ultra directly; Ultra then forwards the payment to the local liquor store minus an agreed upon percentage that is retained by Ultra.

Under District of Columbia law, no person or entity is permitted to sell or solicit orders for sale any alcoholic beverage without the proper license.  However, not all online sales are illegal. Liquor stores that have the proper licenses in Washington, D.C. can conduct online sales and deliveries in the District of Columbia.

ABRA issued an advisory opinion (Board Order No. 2013-062) last year related to “the operation of a similar online business,” with consistent findings.