Simplified rules for Virginia distilleries at festivals and delivery of closed containers of alcohol to customer’s vehicles are just two of several business-friendly legislative proposals affecting Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) passed by this year’s General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. These laws will go into effect on Saturday, July 1.
House Bill (HB) 2029 and Senate Bill (SB) 1448 benefit Virginia distilleries by allowing additional locations for a distillery store to participate in events or festivals throughout the state conducted for the purpose of featuring and educating the consuming public about their products. This will expand the opportunities for distilleries to distribute their products at licensed events.
HB 1801 permits off-premise wine and beer licensees to deliver closed containers of alcoholic beverages to a customer’s vehicle when: 1) that vehicle is parked in a designated space and 2) the online order of that wine or beer was placed in advance of the delivery.
Additional successful legislation important to Virginia ABC and its stakeholders:
HB 1743: Creates a new historic cinema house license which authorizes the licensee to sell wine and beer for on premise consumption, either with or without meals, during any showing of a movie.
HB 1987 & SB 1391: Create a new commercial lifestyle center license for mixed use commercial developments. The new law authorizes consumption throughout the premises of the development, including plazas, seating areas, concourses, walkways and such other similar areas.
HB 1842: This law raises the maximum proof of neutral grain spirits that may be sold through Virginia ABC retail stores without a permit. The previous limit was 101 proof. The new limit is 151 proof.
HB 2433: This law clarifies that cider shall be treated as wine for all purposes of alcoholic beverage control law including the sale of cider in Virginia ABC retail stores.
SB 1578: This law requires individuals operating short-term rentals (Airbnb) who wish to offer alcoholic beverages to their guests to obtain a bed and breakfast license.
SB 1216: This law clarifies that all mixed beverage licensees are required to have food, cooked or prepared on the licensed premises, available in all areas of the licensed premises in which spirits are sold or served until at least 30 minutes prior to closing.
SB 1382: This law streamlines the alcoholic beverage license and delivery process by allowing Virginia ABC to issue an alcoholic beverage license to the establishment when the applicant provides proof of a pending food establishment license or health permit. The licensee may not sell alcoholic beverages until the food establishment license or health permit has been issued.
HB 1694 will allow nonprofit organizations with banquet licenses to sell closed containers of wine to those 21 or older as part of any fundraising activity. Organizations are only allowed to do so once per year.
SB 1150: This law requires Virginia ABC to provide training for all retail licensees and employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption on how to recognize situations that may lead to sexual assault and utilize intervention strategies. This training is meant to help prevent situations from culminating in sexual assault.
SB 1587: This law adds Alleghany County to the list of permissible localities that may qualify for a retail on-premise beer and wine amphitheater license.
HB 1926: Creates a new municipal golf course license for the Holston Hills Community Golf Course in Marion and waives any applicable monthly food sales requirements for the months when the weather reduces patronage.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 366 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees nearly 18,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now marking its 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.