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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.


Arlington pub crawls to pay security and cleanup costs

July 22, 2014
Pub crawls, the wildly popular events that encourage people to travel from bar to bar for drink specials, will not be banned in Arlington County’s retail corridors as a result of a vote by the County Board to scrutinize them more carefully. But those who sponsor the events soon will have to start picking up the tab for police and cleanup crews, which some bar owners and promoters say could kill the crawls nonetheless. County Board members, while loath to discourage the free-spending young adult demographic, voted unanimously Saturday to make organizers of pub crawls pay costs previously...

New ABC Licenses Available in Georgetown

March 28, 2014
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Four ABC licenses will be available for application in Georgetown next month, including one for a tavern and three for restaurants. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will begin accepting applications for the licenses at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 10. The tavern license is only available to an existing restaurant located in the Georgetown Historic District . An applicant would be eligible to apply for the license as either a tavern or nightclub. The availability of the tavern license also allows taverns located in the area to transfer...Read more

ABRA Kicks Off Compliance Campaign on Noise Laws

March 14, 2014
ABRA will be performing unannounced visits to ABC licensee holders, starting with establishments that have received complaints in the past. We highly encourage our members to make sure they are in compliance with District ABC noise laws. We also encourage our members to sign up for the ABRA listserv to stay informed on upcoming policy changes and campaigns that will affect your business. For more information on the Compliance Campaign on Noise Laws see below for the ABRA press release. MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 13, 2014 CONTACT: Jessie Cornelius (ABRA) 202.442.6954...Read more

Virginia Happy Hour Legislation Signed

December 29, 2013
RAMW is pleased to announce that the state’s pending happy hour legislation has been signed and will be published on December 30, 2013. The new law, which will allow restaurants and bars to advertise happy hours through print, digital and social media, will be effective January 29th, 2014. To be clear, the law does not allow for the advertisement of specific happy hour beverages and beverage prices (outside the restaurant or bar). However, once the law goes into effect in late January, establishments will be able to advertise “Happy Hour” or “Drink Specials” and...Read more

The Bar Bystander Campaign

November 20, 2013
What would you do if someone who had been drinking excessively picked up their car keys and headed for the door? If you are a good bystander, you would intervene to help the person get home safely without risking injury to self or others. Cities and states, colleges and branches of the military are using that same bystander approach to prevent sexual assault: teaching professionals and friends how to offer assistance and intervene to prevent alcohol-facilitated sexual assault. In Arlington County, police are seeing an increase in reports of alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults of young...

ABC Board Overhauls Alcoholic Beverage Warning Sign

November 18, 2013
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board issued on August 28, 2013 a new alcoholic beverage warning sign. The new warning sign must be posted by licensees at their establishments in a conspicuous place no later than Wednesday, November 27, 2013. The new sign provides several benefits to the public and licensees. Specifically, it allows the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to address several warnings and requirements for consuming alcoholic beverages in one sign thereby reducing the number of signs an establishment is required to have posted. Licensees can pick up the new...Read more

Virginia's ABC Cracking Down on Wine Tastings, Dinners

October 21, 2013
Rebecca Cooper , Washington Business Journal The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has stepped up enforcement of a law that limits wine tastings and wine dinners at restaurants that serve wine on site, surprising many restaurateurs who have been offering them for years. The law prohibits wine wholesalers and distributors from participating in tasting events held in restaurants. Winemakers or winery representatives are allowed to participate in these types of events, and the law does not prevent wholesalers from offering tastings at shops that do not serve on premises. Read...

Addressing ABC Issues Key to Regulatory Reform in Virginia

October 17, 2013
RAMW met with its Virginia members and state officials and legislators on October 10th at Clyde's of Tysons to discuss the myriad issues facing Northern Virginia restaurants. The meeting was very productive and provided an opportunity to dive into debates around restaurant operations, workforce development and taxes. Alcohol and ABC issues took center stage with operators citing challenges with the alcohol transfer process of wine and beer between locations. They also discussed at length, problems with the ABC permitting process. As a result of this dialogue, Delegate Albo recommended...

ABRA Update: ABC Board Overhauls Alcoholic Beverage Warning Sign

August 28, 2013
August 28, 2013 (Washington, DC) - In a press release distributed this morning, the District's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) unveiled a new alcoholic beverage warning sign that will be posted in approximately 1,800 ABC licensed establishments in the District. Licensees are required to post the new sign in a conspicuous place on the licensed premises by Wednesday, Nov. 27. The new sign allows ABRA to address several warnings and requirements for consuming alcoholic beverages in one posted notice and will also reduce the number of notices an ABC establishment is...Read more

RAMW Commends Council on Extended Hours Vote

May 14, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Betsy Allman, Policy Advisor 202.331.5990 or betsy@ramw.org Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Commends D.C. Council for Taking Critical First Step Toward a Vibrant World-Class City in Approving an Initial Partial Extension in Alcohol Service Hours WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2012) – The D.C. Council this afternoon took a historic first step in voting preliminary approval of a partial and modest one-hour extension in the maximum allowable alcohol service period at the city’s restaurants, bars and hotels. The Council, in a voice vote,...Read more

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