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Four New DC Alcohol Bills Are Effective 2/21 | Next Steps

February 21, 2020

(WASHINGTON, DC) – February 21, 2020 – How businesses sell, serve, and transport alcohol is changing.

Four alcohol laws — introduced and signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser — focused on boosting access to DC-made products, fostering creativity and collaboration, creating parity within the manufacturing landscape, and alleviating administrative burdens for licensees became effective Friday, February 21, 2020.
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Notable improvements by law include:

  • Alcoholic Beverage Enforcement Amendment Act of 2019
    • Persons 18+ may deliver alcoholic beverages off-site including to DC residences.
    • ABC Manager licenses go from being valid for two (2) to three (3) years, along with the alcohol awareness certification required for the license.
    • Physical licenses must continue to be prominently displayed onsite but are no longer required to be placed behind glass.
  • Manufacturer and Pub Permit Parity Amendment Act of 2019
    • DC wineries, including cideries, can sell collaboration wines in growlers and crowlers, and breweries can offer their collaboration beers in crowlers — growlers were previously allowed, for off-site enjoyment.
    • The maximum ABV allowance for wine manufactured in DC jumps from 15 to 21%.
    • Pub Permit holders can manufacture wine, beer, and spirits in a second location that is within 600 feet of their licensed premises.
  • Alcoholic Beverage Control Board License Categories, Endorsements and Hourly and Percentage Rate Amendment Act of 2019
    • Pub Crawl licenses are valid for three (3) calendar years — up from one (1) calendar year.
    • The cap of one (1) Off-Premise Retailer’s Class B license in hotels per licensee removed.
    • Wholesalers can deliver alcoholic beverages to retailers on Sundays
  • Alcoholic Beverage Procedural and Technical Amendment Act of 2019
    • License holders are prohibited, with some exceptions, to protest an alcohol license application.
    • Licensees that close or cease operations for 21+ days must place their license in safekeeping. Previously any closure or ceasing of operations required the license to be placed in safekeeping.

“We appreciate Mayor Bowser and the DC Council for working with ABRA to deliver smart legislation that is responsive to the needs of existing and prospective alcoholic beverage licensees, meets consumer demand, and protects community safety and health,” said ABRA Director Fred Moosally. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with businesses, residents, and elected officials to ensure DC leads in offering unrivaled experiences, products, and services.

To promote awareness of changes in the law, ABRA is meeting with key stakeholder groups including the DC Association of Beverage Alcohol Wholesalers, DC Brewers’ Guild, Hotel Association of Washington, DC, and Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).

Additionally, resources such as Quick Guides — downloadable at — and in-person trainings are available at no cost to the public.


Media Contact:
Jared Powell, Public Information Officer
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA)
202.407.7961 |

Related Issues & Advocacy Categories:
Washington DC