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Alcoholic Beverage Control

Alcohol service is a huge and positive part of the full service restaurant business. It is also a huge responsibility. Virginia, DC and Maryland each have its own laws and regulations governing the distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages. But what is the same across state lines is the ever changing regulatory landscape.

From new ABC laws to enforcement initiatives, RAMW is an advocate for fair and reasonable legislation and is your resource for information on the alcoholic beverage regulations that affect your business.

Statement from RAMW President and CEO Shawn Townsend on Dram Shop Act Vote

February 8, 2024
Statement from RAMW President and CEO Shawn Townsend on Restaurant Revitalization and Dram Shop Clarification Amendment Act of 2023 Vote We are pleased that this week’s bill adds key definitions and standards to dram shop law to lower the exorbitant cost of the District’s liquor liability insurance for our local neighborhood restaurants, which we all know is some of the most expensive in the US. Thanks to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, a number of other measures to make doing every day business better in the District are...

2023 Member Survey Findings

January 2, 2024
TO: Interested Parties FROM: Che Ruddell-Tabisola Vice President, Government Affairs Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington DATE: Nov. 1, 2023 RE: Struggling Under Declining Traffic and Shrinking Sales, DC Restaurants Call on DC Council to Act Now A year after passage of Initiative 82, significant numbers of DC restaurants are contending with dwindling customer traffic and diminishing revenues, threatening the viability especially of local independent restaurants. “Our neighborhood restaurants are caught between a rock and a hard place,”said Shawn Townsend, President and...

Operator Town Hall 2 pm Wednesday

May 8, 2023
Serving Responsibly Why Strengthening Liquor Liability Law is Good Business Register Here Are you a District restaurant, bar, or venue operator concerned about the cost of liquor liability insurance and threat of lawsuits? Join this Operator Town Hall to learn how strengthening dram shop laws help to promote responsible serving practices and reduce alcohol-related harms in communities – all while lowering insurance costs. The Problem: Unlike most states, District law is vague about how or when a business can be held liable for the actions of an intoxicated guest. As a result, District...

Extended Hours for 2022 FIFA World Cup

October 18, 2022
Eligible licensees may operate 24-hours and sell and serve alcohol between 6:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. during the 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place November 20-December 18, 2022. To participate, licensees must register and pay a non-refundable $100 fee by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 17. If approved, licensees will be issued a permit that must be posted next to their alcohol license inside the premises. Note the following: Eligible licensees include On-Premises Retailers, Manufacturers with an On-Site Sales and Consumption Permit, and Temporary License holders. Extended hours start the evening...

ABRA: License Renewals, Remaining Holiday Weekends Eligible for Extended Hours, & More

September 12, 2022
All information below is posted as shared through the 09.12.22 edition of ABRA's Last Cal Newsletter: Extended Hours There are four (4) holiday weekends remaining in 2022 that are eligible for extended hours . They include: Indigenous Peoples' Day Weekend | Friday, October 7 – Monday, October 10 Veterans Day Weekend | Thursday, November 10 – Sunday, November 13 T hanksgiving Day Weekend | Wednesday, November 23 – Sunday, November 27 C hristmas Day Weekend | Friday, December 23 – Monday, December 26 Establishments registered in the program may sell and serve...

ABRA Guidance on Reopening DC Modifications Effective May 21

May 20, 2021
Effective at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, May 21, 2021, many substantive restrictions and requirements imposed by previous Mayor’s Orders and ABC Board rulemakings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will be lifted. Additionally, select activities such as pub crawls and extended holiday hours , that were temporarily suspended due to the public health emergency may resume. Full modifications are detailed in Mayor’s Order 2020-069 , related ABC Board emergency rulemakings , and on ABRA’s website . Additionally, ABRA will host a virtual public information session focused on the...

All On-Premises Alcohol Sales & Consumption Suspended Effective Today at 4pm

March 19, 2020
The DC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board adopted an emergency rulemaking prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption starting Thursday, March 19th at 4pm. You cannot serve alcoholic beverages to people while they wait for their food order. This is in effect through the duration of either or both the Mayor’s Public Emergency and Public Health Emergency . Please note for delivery and takeout of alcoholic beverages: they must be provided in sealed container and a beer with a lime in the top does not count as a seal. Establishments should not be giving out...

All Pub Crawl Permits for March Events Revoked

March 13, 2020
All pub crawl permits for events scheduled to take place in Washington, DC now through March 31, 2020 have been revoked effective immediately. The 6-0 decision by the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board was made based on guidance from the District’s Department of Health (DOH) that all non-essential mass gatherings of more than 1,000 persons be cancelled to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Mayor’s Orders 2020-045 and 2020-046 indicate that the spread of COVID-19 represents an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of District residents that requires...

Montgomery County Alcoholic Beverage Services Update

March 18, 2020
Attention Montgomery County Restaurants, All restaurants licensed by the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners may sell sealed containers of beer and wine for off-premises consumption along with a takeout or delivered meal. This permission includes the sale of bottles, cans, growlers, and crowlers for off-premises consumption and does not include the sale of alcoholic drinks in a to-go cup. This permission does not include liquor. This permission expires when the emergency order to close restaurants is lifted. Businesses may deliver beer and wine to Montgomery County addresses...

ABRA GUIDANCE | COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020

March 17, 2020
PLEASE READ THIS IN ITS ENTIRETY. Tuesday, March 17, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. Included is a provision that allows ABC-licensed restaurants and taverns to sell beer, wine, and spirits in closed containers for carry-out and/ or delivery to DC residences in conjunction with the purchase of one or more prepared food items. Before an eligible restaurant or tavern may sell beer, wine, and spirits in closed containers for carry-out and delivery, they must register with ABRA — no exceptions . Registration can be completed in five...