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Virginia ABC > Enforcement > Virginia Codes and Regulations > Legislative Update

Legislative Update

Virginia ABC-Related Legislation Effective Starting July 1, 2018.

Licensing Fee

HB 826 & SB 884. This law increases the Virginia ABC general license application fee from $65 to $195 and the application fee for mixed beverage special event licenses from $15 to $45 and increases the state tax on wine shipper’s licenses, beer shipper’s licenses and wine and beer shipper’s licenses from $95 to $230. These increases were proposed to be more reflective of the amount of work involved in processing the applications and were the result of many discussions and meetings between Virginia ABC and industry stakeholders. Additional revenues will be utilized to support Enforcement operations.

Notary Requirement

SB 647. This law removes the requirement that applicants for certain ABC licenses provide a statement, under oath, setting forth any information required by the Board of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. The bill replaces the requirement with a provision that requires applicants to provide a written statement swearing and affirming that all of the information contained in the application is true. This change permits the creation of one uniform process for all applications while eliminating a cumbersome and costly notary procedure that retail applicants must go through before submitting their paperwork, and allows Virginia ABC to continue to move towards being “paperless” with the implementation of its new licensing system. 

Other Legislation

Other legislation that impacts Virginia ABC and its stakeholders includes:

ABC Board & CEO Confirmation

SJ 100. This joint resolution confirms the governor’s appointment of the Virginia ABC Board and Chief Executive Officer.

Higher Ed Substance Abuse Advisory Committee

HB 852 & SB 120. This bill directs the Virginia ABC Board to establish and appoint members to the Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee, with the goal of developing and updating a statewide strategic plan for substance use education, prevention and intervention at Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education. The strategic plan must incorporate the use of best practices, provide for the collection of statewide data from all institutions of higher education on student alcohol and substance use, assist institutions of higher education in developing their individual strategic plans by providing networking and training resources and materials, and develop and maintain reporting guidelines for use by institutions of higher education in their individual strategic plans.

Electronic Records

HB 1379. This law permits electronic records of retail licensees to be stored off site under certain conditions, provided that such records are readily retrievable and available for electronic inspection by the Board or its special agents at the licensed premises. It is the discretion of the Board to grant the licensee up to 3 days for the licensee to produce the records for inspection.

Distilleries

SB 486. This law allows licensed distillers to include in samples, spirits or vermouth not manufactured on the licensed premises, provided that at least 75 percent of the spirits used are manufactured on the distillery’s premises. Distilleries may keep no more than 10 spirits not manufactured on site. The law also increases the number of banquet licenses for special events a licensed distiller may purchase per year from four to eight and allows the licensee to sell samples of spirits at such special events.

Additional Alcohol Licenses

HB 486. This bill adds property related to the Old Prices Fork School Comprehensive Community Revitalization project for which a mixed beverage license may be issued without requiring a local referendum. 

HB 1602 & SB 61. This law creates a new confectionary license which authorizes the licensee to prepare and sell confectionary that contains 5% of less alcohol by volume (ABV) for off-premise consumption. 

SB 588. This law expands the privileges of the existing annual mixed beverage special events license to include museums or other facilities owned by the locality and used primarily for historic interpretation.    

SB 695. This law creates an Internet beer retailer license, establishes the privileges of and fee for the license, and defines "Internet beer retailer."

SB 769. This law allows museum licensees who operate a museum located in the Town of Front Royal that is dedicated to educating the consuming public about historic beer products to sell beer for on-premises consumption in areas approved by the Board.

Swim Clubs

HB 1520. This law allows any private swim club operated by a duly organized nonprofit corporation or association to allow its members to bring and consume lawfully acquired alcoholic beverages onto the premises.

Wholesalers

HB 1005 & SB 174. This law permits wine wholesalers to have designated exclusive sales territories.  This law matches how beer franchise territories are currently structured.

HB 820 & SB 382. This law requires that before any wine or beer may be delivered to a retail licensee for resale, the wine or beer must first be delivered to the licensed premises of a wine or beer wholesaler, unloaded from the transporting vehicle, kept on the licensed premises of the wholesaler for not less than four hours prior to reloading on a vehicle, and recorded in the wholesaler's inventory

Brewery Remote Locations

HB 422 & SB 306. This law requires that when a brewery licensee sells at retail the brands of beer that the brewery owns, at least 20 percent of the volume of beer sold for on-premises consumption in any calendar year shall be manufactured on the licensed premises. This law has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2019, with a further delayed effective date of April 30, 2022, for Deschutes Brewery in Roanoke.

Licensee Guidance

Visit the Retail Resources and Industry Resources sections for wine and beer and for distilled spirits for additional information about proper implementation of ABC laws and regulations. Topics range from happy hour advertising to food-beverage ratio requirements.

ABC Crimeline

To report an ABC law violation or object to an ABC license: Call (800) 552-3200 or submit the Violation Complaint Form.

Authority Transition FAQs

In 2018 Virginia ABC will transition from an agency into an authority. Learn more the authority, its structure, its impact on operations and changes to employee benefits on the Authority FAQs page.