ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: November/December 2016 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

November-December 2016

2017 Extended Holiday Hours


The calendar is set for the 2017 Extended Holiday Hours program.

Next year, licensees enrolled in the program will be able to extend hours until 4 a.m. and operate 24 hours a day during ten District and Federal holidays, which includes three three-day holiday weekends. A complete calendar can be reviewed on the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration's (ABRA) website.

Licensees registered for the Extended Holiday Hours program during 2016 will be automatically eligible to participate in the program during 2017. 

Licensees of on-premises establishments that are not already registered in the program but want to participate would need to enroll to do so. In order to register for 2017, a licensee would need to submit a registration form and public safety plan to ABRA at least 30 days prior to the first holiday a licensee would like to participate. The deadline to register in time for New Year's Eve is Dec. 1, 2016.

Once a licensee is registered and approved, the registration will be valid for the calendar year and each year thereafter. There is no fee to enroll. Complete details are available on ABRA's website.

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

Proposed Alcohol Laws Pass First Council Reading


A number of new alcohol laws unanimously passed a first reading before the District of Columbia Council on Nov. 15. The bill—proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Sept. 16will now be subject to a second reading before the Council.

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

Similar to legislation enacted in states across the country, the bill proposes banning the sale of powdered alcohol in the District. It would also institute a $1,000 fine for any person that violates the law. 

Other provisions of the bill propose expanding 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 beerknown as brew pubscould 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 for distilleries 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 proposed legislation also creates 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, similar to hotels. 

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

2017 Pub Crawl License

Pub Crawl

The new year means applying for a new license if you are planning to hold pub crawls.

As part of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's (Board) enhanced regulations for pub crawls, a promoter or organizer is required to obtain an annual license at least 60 days prior to holding an initial pub crawl event. Additionally, a registration application needs to be submitted along with all of the required documentation for each pub crawl at least 60 days prior to the event taking place. Complete details are available on ABRA's website.

The Board overhauled pub crawl regulations this year to ensure public safety after pub crawl events on Oct. 31, 2015 resulted in litter, property damage and community concern. 

On Nov. 15, the Council of the District of Columbia approved the Board's rulemaking, which was previously only in effect on an emergency basis. As a result, the regulations will now be permanently adopted as part of the Board's regulations.  

Public Comment Period Underway for Langdon Park Moratorium Zone


The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) is accepting public comment on adopted proposed rules that would limit certain liquor licenses in Langdon Park. The Board adopted the proposed rules on Sept. 7 in response to several community petitions.

The proposed moratorium would extend 600 feet in all directions from the intersection of Bladensburg Road and 24th Place, NE. Within the zone, two restrictions would apply for a three-year period. First, the proposed rules would limit the number of class C nightclub and multipurpose facility licenses in the zone to three. Second, the proposed rules would not allow new entertainment endorsements to be issued to restaurants and taverns in the area. 

In making its decision, the Board considered all of the public comment it received on the issue, including community concerns regarding noise, litter, parking and public safety issues stemming from nightlife establishments already in the neighborhood. The Board also considered concerns raised by businesses, which cited the need for continued economic development in the area.

In order to strike a balance between the concerns of residents and businesses, the Board modified the requests originally proposed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, the Langdon Park Community Association, The Greater Woodridge-Gateway Leaders' Group, and residents of Woodridge, Langdon Park and Gateway Communities. The proposals generally requested prohibiting the issuance of certain alcohol licenses for taverns, nightclubs, multipurpose facilities, and restaurants with entertainment endorsements within an 1,800-foot radius of the corridor for a five-year period.

The Langdon Park Moratorium Zone would be the fifth neighborhood moratorium zone in the District. Public comment on the Board’s decision began on Nov. 11 for a 30-day period. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available online

Attend Licensee Training Dec. 1


New and existing ABC licensees are invited to attend the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration's (ABRA) Orientation Training from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. 

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, Nov. 25 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.

New Members Join ABC Board

ABC Board

Three members were sworn in to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) on Oct. 26. 

Mafara Hobson and Jake Perry were sworn in to serve their first terms on the Board. James Short was sworn in to serve his second term.

All three members were appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia. 

There is currently a total of six members serving on the Board, including the chairperson.The Board is an independent body that meets once each week to adjudicate, administer and enforce alcoholic beverage laws.  

ABC Board Recess Schedule

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board's (Board) recess schedule for 2017 is set. Dates the Board will be on recess during this year and next, include the following: 

- November 23, 2016
- December 21, 2016
- December 28, 2016
- January 4, 2017
- January 18, 2017
- February 22, 2017
- April 19, 2017
- May 31, 2017
- July 6, 2017
- August 23, 2017
- August 30, 2017
- September 6, 2017
- November 22, 2017
- December 20, 2017
- December 27, 2017

The Board will continue to hold its regularly scheduled weekly hearings on all other Wednesdays of each week.