ABRA Last Call Newsletter: July-August 2014 Edition

ABRA newsletter

New Permit Allows On-Premise Consumption at D.C. Breweries

A new permit is available to District breweries that will for the first time allow customers to purchase and drink the brewery’s beer while visiting the facility. The new law is a provision of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (page 27) that took effect July 14.

Under the Manufacturer Tasting Permit Emergency Amendment Act of 2014, a brewery can apply for an on-site sales and consumption permit with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). The permit allows for customers to purchase and consume beer—brewed at the brewery— while on the licensed premises from 1-9 p.m., seven days a week. The annual fee for the permit is $1,000. ABRA has already begun accepting and processing permit applications.

Any manufacturer that does not want to apply is not required to do so. A brewery would still need to obtain a tasting permit in order to provide samples of beer to customers at no cost even if they have an on-site sales and consumption permit.

Licensees can contact ABRA with any questions by emailing or calling 202-442-4423.

Adams Morgan

Restaurant Licenses Now Available in Adams Morgan

On July 9, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) renewed the Adams Morgan Moratorium Zone with two modifications, which includes allowing the issuance of new liquor licenses for restaurants in the area for the first time in approximately five years. The change is consistent with a provision of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C’s (ANC 1C) proposal on the moratorium.

The Board also reduced the term of the moratorium to three years from five years as a means to monitor the effect of new restaurant licenses in the area. Complete details of the Board’s decision are available in the Notice of Emergency and Proposed Rulemaking.

Other provisions of the moratorium will remain in place. The zone will continue to be the second largest neighborhood moratorium in the District, extending 1,400 feet in all directions from the intersection of Belmont Road and 18th St., NW. In addition to restaurants, hotels and off-premise retailers such as liquor stores are exempt from the moratorium. Restrictions of the moratorium include:

  • No new licenses for taverns and multipurpose facilities.
  • No nightclub licenses are permitted in the zone.
  • No more than 10 licenses issued for taverns and multipurpose facilities.
  • A restaurant holding a license within the zone is prohibited from changing its license class unless there are fewer than 10 taverns and multipurpose facilities within the zone.
  • A license holder outside of the zone is not permitted to transfer its license to a location within the zone unless it is a restaurant, hotel or off-premise retailer.

The continued restrictions are also consistent with provisions of ANC 1C’s proposal on the moratorium as well as a proposal from the Kalorama Citizens Association. The Board also considered all of the testimony and written comments it received on the issue through Friday, May 9 in making its decision.

The decision is currently in effect on an emergency basis and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval from the District of Columbia Council. Members of the public can submit public comment on the decision for a 30-day period after the Notice of Emergency and Proposed Rulemaking is posted to the D.C. Register.

ABC Board Issues Cease and Desist to Online Vendor

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) is notifying online businesses that it is illegal to engage in the solicitation, sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages in the District as a third party vendor without a license.

cease-and-desist order was issued by the Board on June 25 to online proprietor Ultra for illegally selling alcoholic beverages in the District without a license. As part of the order, Ultra was required to stop all alcoholic beverage sales in D.C.

An investigation of Ultra by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) found that the business had been soliciting alcoholic beverage orders and taking credit card information from consumers for the sale and delivery of alcoholic beverage products. Ultra was collecting the money directly from the customer in addition to a five dollar delivery fee. The money was then being forwarded to the licensee, minus an agreed upon percentage that Ultra retained.

Under District law, no person is permitted to sell—which includes soliciting orders for sale—any alcoholic beverage without the proper license to do so. The Board issued an advisory opinion (Board Order No. 2013-062) last year related to the operations of a similar online business, which had consistent findings.

Not all online liquor sales are illegal in the District. Liquor stores that have alcoholic beverage licenses are currently permitted to conduct online sales and deliveries in D.C.

Licensees or businesses that have questions can email or call ABRA at 202-442-4423. Complete District alcoholic beverage laws and regulations are available on ABRA’s website.

Labor Day Weekend Extended Holiday Hours

Labor Day weekend will be the last time this summer that establishments registered for extended holiday hours can stay open later for an entire weekend

The extended holiday hours program allows on-premise establishments to stay open 24 hours a day and to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. on certain holidays and holiday weekends. During Labor Day weekend, alcohol service must end at 4 a.m. on the mornings of Saturday, Aug. 30; Sunday, Aug. 31; and Monday, Sept. 1. 

On-premise establishments that want to participate but are not already registered have until Friday, Aug. 1 to do so. Once a licensee is signed up for the program, the establishment is able to participate in all eligible holidays listed on the calendar during that same year.

The first eligible holiday in the fall will be Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 13. Learn how to register and get complete details on the program online. Establishments that have settlement agreements restricting closing hours are not eligible to participate. 

ABC Orientation Training Aug. 14

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will hold a special training for new ABC licensees and members of the public from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14 that will cover:

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

Contact ABRA Community Resource Advisor Sarah Fashbaugh by Friday, Aug. 8 to register:

  • Email
  • Call (202) 397-3971

Attendance for this class is strongly recommended for new ABC license holders. Training is free of charge. Requests for interpreters may be made; however, they must be submitted by the RSVP date.

Training Location

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