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About Virginia ABC

Cheers to 90 Years!

Virginia ABC is celebrating its 90th anniversary of serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. Learn more about the Authority's history of providing good spirits and excellent service, from its humble beginnings following the end of Prohibition to having over 400 stores in the state.
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Virginia ABC is a leading revenue producer for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the source of future economic growth and innovation for the state. The profits that Virginia ABC contributes—collected from distilled spirits sales at ABC stores conveniently located across the state and taxes collected on beer and wine sales—provide much-needed funding for use in a multitude of state programs. This benefits all Virginians. Since its establishment in 1934, Virginia ABC has contributed $12 billion to the commonwealth’s general fund supporting major education, health and transportation initiatives.

Virginia ABC’s more than 4,700 employees take pride in our role as public servants and put customers first in all we do. As an authority working with the Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security, ABC administers alcohol-related laws with an emphasis on public safety by ensuring an orderly and regulated system for convenient sales and responsible consumption of alcohol. In 2018, Virginia ABC transitioned from a traditional state government agency to an authority, an independent political subdivision, which provides more flexibility and efficiency as a retailer, wholesaler and regulator of distilled spirits.

We are one of our nation’s 17 control states—where the state government manages the sale and distribution of distilled spirits at the wholesale level. ABC stores are the only retail outlets in Virginia where customers may purchase liquor.

Our Mission

To Strengthen the Commonwealth through public safety, education, and revenue from the responsible regulation and sale of alcoholic beverages.

Infographic about ABC Contributions to the General Fund
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Stores and Products

With nearly 400 stores in convenient locations throughout the commonwealth, Virginia ABC is dedicated to providing those ages 21 and older with an enjoyable, modern shopping environment. Considerable planning is involved in determining locations for new stores to ensure optimum customer service. Virginia ABC also strives to ensure customer satisfaction by being timely and nimble in response to market changes, product availability and consumer desires.

Virginia ABC stores offer a wide selection of merchandise—including mixers, vermouth and Virginia-made wines in addition to liquor—with more than 3,967 items in its online product catalog. These products are stored in ABC’s 315,000-square-foot distribution center located in Hanover County, which opened in June 2021. Expandable to 399,000 square feet, the center has the capacity to ship 35,000 cases of distilled spirits daily. Virginia ABC stores receive weekly and bi-weekly deliveries to restock items available for sale to customers of legal drinking age.

Participants dancing at a YADAPP event

Alcohol Education and Prevention Initiatives

Virginia ABC believes in a multi-faceted approach to alcohol education and prevention and includes individuals, families, licensees and communities in its programming curriculum. The authority offers a robust assortment of alcohol prevention and public education initiatives for Virginians of all ages. These include training and resources for schools, coalitions, health care providers and those who sell and serve alcohol. Virginia ABC’s Community Health and Engagement staff offers programs to prevent underage alcohol use and promote the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages for those of age who choose to consume. In addition, ABC provides grant funding to enhance local alcohol education and prevention programming.

Bureau of Law Enforcement

Virginia ABC’s expertise in alcohol laws and regulations make its Bureau of Law Enforcement a valuable resource for future and existing ABC licensees. Special agents are ABC law educators and regulators, working directly with approximately 19,000 licensed businesses to address non-compliance issues and reduce criminal activities involving alcohol. These agents also initiate public safety investigations following incidents at licensed establishments, assisting and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies, civic leagues, residents, businesses and community stakeholders. All ABC special agents are sworn Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services certified law enforcement officers within the bureau, which is accredited through the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission. Importantly, revenue generated from license fees and civil penalties goes to support industry regulation to ensure fair market practices.

Our Bureau of Law Enforcement also includes licensing, compliance and records management staff, as well as a hearings, appeals and judicial services team who all provide a number of services including:

  • serve as liaisons to breweries, distilleries and wineries;
  • inform and interact with alcohol manufacturers, importers and distributors;
  • collect Virginia taxes;
  • process invoices and renewals;
  • conduct alcohol-related training about the commonwealth’s ABC laws;
  • maintain records for businesses with ABC licenses and individuals seeking licenses related to alcohol sale and consumption at private special events; and · conduct administrative hearings to address disciplinary matters related to violations of ABC law and regulations, contested license applications, including objections to banquet applications, and franchise issues.

Hearings Process

When there is a disciplinary matter involving a licensee (i.e., a business is charged with a Virginia ABC law violation), a contested ABC license application or an issue involving contract or performance disputes between beer or wine producers and their distributors, ABC will schedule administrative proceedings, which include hearings and alternate dispute resolution options such as consent and negotiated settlements, and mediation services. Virginia ABC administrative law judges conduct hearings virtually and in-person on issues properly before the authority. Court reporters transcribe testimony, motions and arguments. Parties offer testimony and evidence in support of their case before an administrative law judge who reviews the record presented and issues a decision. Once a decision is issued, parties have 30 days to appeal to the Virginia ABC Board of Directors. Decisions by the Board of Directors are appealable to the Circuit Court.

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Virginia ABC Board

Virginia ABC is governed by a part-time board consisting of a chairperson and four commissioners. Learn more.

Careers at Virginia ABC

As a revenue-generating agency of the commonwealth, we do not rely on state funding. During budget difficulties or economic downturns, Virginia ABC is less susceptible to furloughs or layoffs. Learn about job opportunities.