Last Call Newsletter: March-April 2015 Edition

Last Call

Applications Available for New Types of Licenses

Beginning Tuesday, April 21, District businesses can get a head start submitting applications for several new types of alcoholic beverage licenses. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will begin processing the applications after the Congressional review period expires for the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2014, which is projected to occur on Saturday, May 2.

As part of the new legislation, a distillery can apply for an on-site sales and consumption permit. The permit would allow a spirit manufacturer to sell their products on site in cocktails for the first time. Wineries will also be able to apply for the permit, which would allow them to sell and serve glasses of their wine to customers. Applications for the permit are available online.

The proposed law also allows organizers of sporting or performing art events to apply for a new festival license, which would temporarily permit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages at events for up to 15 days. The license would eliminate the need for organizers to obtain several one-day permits over the course of longer events. An organizer could apply for the license every three months. 

Applications may also be submitted by bakeries that produce alcohol-infused confections, such as cupcakes. The new class C manufacturer’s license would allow bakeries to sell baked goods—with a maximum of five percent of alcohol by volume—to persons 21 years of age or older. Bakeries could also sell the products to other businesses that have alcoholic beverage licenses. 

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

New Law Will Limit Alcohol Ads in Windows

ABC licensees will need to take a look at their establishments' windows to ensure that they comply with new restrictions on alcohol ads that could take effect as early as May.   

As part of a pending law, alcohol ads can only cover up to 25 percent of an establishment’s windows. The restrictions will apply to all alcohol licensed establishments in the District. 

Investigators from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will begin enforcing the new law once the Congressional review period for the legislation expires; however, establishments will be granted a written warning for a first-time offense of the new rule. ABRA will notify licensees of when the law officially takes effect.


Outdoor Patio Permit for Manufacturers Proposed

A proposed law could go into effect in the District that would allow breweries, distilleries and wineries to operate outdoor patios similar to restaurants and taverns. 

If approved, the Manufacturer’s Sidewalk Cafe and Summer Garden Endorsement Amendment Act of 2015 would permit an alcohol manufacturer that holds an on-site sales and consumption permit to operate an outdoor patio area from 1-9 p.m., seven days a week. The proposed law would only affect manufacturer licensees in the District and would not impact brew pubs, distillery pubs or wine pubs.

The law was proposed by Mayor Bowser on Thursday, April 3 as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Act of 2015. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will keep licensees informed if the bill is passed by the District of Columbia Council.