ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: September/October 2016 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

September-October 2016

New Alcohol Laws Proposed


Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed a number of new alcohol laws on Sept. 16 that are now under consideration by the District of Columbia Council.

If enacted, the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment of 2016 will update several laws already on the books and create new ways of doing business in the District.

This includes a number of provisions that would expand the types of containers businesses can sell their products in for customers to take home. Under the proposal, grocery stores could sell wine in growlers for the first time. In addition, establishments like restaurants and taverns that brew beer--known as brew pubs--could sell the beer they manufacture in cans, kegs, bottles and other sealed containers. Currently, brew pubs are only permitted to sell beer in growlers for customers to take home. Additionally, the bill proposes permitting distilleries and wineries to sell their products in cans and kegs instead of only barrels and bottles.   

Another item in the bill would do away with a requirement that cocktails served by distilleries primarily contain the distiller's spirits over any other brand. The new law would allow a distillery to freely mix cocktails containing the distiller's spirits with any other brand of spirits as long as they have the proper permit to do so. 

The bill also proposes a new license that would be the first of its kind in the District. The bed and breakfast license would permit an inn to serve alcohol to registered guests. 

Complete details of the bill can be reviewed online. Check out future editions of Last Call to learn more about the bill's status.

Taverns and Nightclubs Due to Renew Licenses by Sept. 30

Nightlife Establishments

The clock is ticking for all District taverns and nightclubs to renew alcohol licenses with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The deadline to do so is Friday, Sept. 30.

Renewals can only be completed in person at ABRA’s office, which is located at 2000 14th St., NW, 4th Floor, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009.

Applications not returned by the required deadline will be subject to a late fee beginning Monday, Oct. 3 of $50 per day—not to exceed the cost of the license—and cancellation.

ABRA mailed renewal applications to businesses in mid-August. Any tavern or nightclub licensee that did not receive a renewal notice should contact ABRA.               

Alcoholic beverage licenses are required to be renewed every three years with all licenses of the same type expiring on the same date. The next sets of licenses requiring renewal will be all class B manufacturers, which are set to expire on Friday, March 31, 2017. A schedule of license renewals can be reviewed on ABRA’s website.

Complete details for tavern and nightclub license renewals are also available online. Licensees that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423.

Annual Payments Due by Sept. 30

Wine Store

Beer and wine retailers and distributors (class B) that pay for liquor licenses on an annual basis are due to make payments to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) by Friday, Sept. 30.

ABRA mailed payment notices to affected licensees in mid-August. 

Payments may be mailed or hand delivered to ABRA's office at 2000 14th St., NW, 4th Floor, Suite 400 South, Washington, DC 20009. 

Licensing fees should be paid on time. Beginning Monday, Oct. 3, a late fee of $50 per day will be assessed for any late payments, which may not exceed the cost of the license. 

Licensees that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423.

2017 Inaugural Week Registration Opens Oct. 3

Inaugural Week

Next year will be the first time establishments registered for Inaugural Week can extend hours for a nine-day period, including two weekends. 

Under a modified law, restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, hotels and multipurpose facilities can apply to ABRA to sell and serve alcohol until 4 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day from
Jan. 14-22, 2017. 

Previously, the law permitted establishments to register for Inaugural Week for only a seven-day period and one weekend.

In order to register, a licensee must file a completed registration form and public safety plan with ABRA by Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Payment for registration fees is also required. ABRA will be mailing registration forms to licensees in early October.

A licensee is only eligible to participate in Inaugural Week if the establishment does not have a settlement agreement or the settlement agreement does not contain any restrictions on closing hours.

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) can submit written resolutions to ABRA to temporarily waive closing-hour restrictions included in an establishment's Board-approved settlement agreement for any or all of the dates occurring during Inaugural Week. The decision regarding whether to consider such a resolution is within the discretion of each ANC and is not required. Any adopted ANC resolutions that relate to Inaugural Week must be received by ABRA by Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.

During Inaugural Week, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will also take place. Licensees enrolled in the extended holiday hours program will only be eligible to extend hours during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, occurring on Jan. 16, 2017, if the licensee is also registered to extend hours on Jan. 16, 2017 as part of Inaugural Week.

Complete details of Inaugural Week will be available on ABRA's website. Licensees that have questions can contact ABRA’s Licensing Division by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423.

Liquor Store Licenses Becoming Available Oct. 13

Liquor Store

Businesses will soon be able to apply for two liquor store licenses (class A retailer licenses) becoming available for application at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Previously, ABRA could not accept applications for new liquor store licenses since the number of pending and issued class A retailer licenses had reached 250, which by law is the cap for stores permitted to sell spirits, beer and wine. The number has now fallen to 248.

A business owner that wants to apply for one of the licenses can submit an application in person at  ABRA's office: 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. Applicants that have questions can contact ABRA by emailing or calling (202) 442-4423.

Follow ABRA on Twitter and facebook to get the latest updates on liquor store licenses in the District. 

File Quarterly Statements by Oct. 30

Restaurants and hotels are required to file third-quarter statements with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) by Sunday, Oct. 30. 

Third-quarter statements must include food and alcohol sales and expenses from July through September

Complete details and forms are available on ABRA's website.

Licensees that want to learn more about filing quarterly statements are encouraged to attend ABRA's Books and Records Training. Training details are available online

Attend Licensee Training Nov. 3

ABRA Training

New and existing ABC licensees are invited to attend ABRA’s Orientation Training from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3. 

Training will cover District alcohol laws; settlement agreements; tips for working effectively with the community; noise abatement and sound management; and much more.

Contact ABRA Community Resource Officer Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, Oct. 28 to register by emailing or calling (202) 397-3971.

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

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

Clocks Fall Back Nov. 6

Daylight Saving Time

Autumn daylight saving time is just around the corner.

On the morning of Sunday, Nov. 6, the clock is set to fall back one hour from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. 

Any licensee that normally operates at 2 a.m. will automatically gain an additional hour to conduct business during the repeated hour.

Details are available on ABRA's 2016 Extended Hours Calendar.