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

Legislative Update

Virginia ABC-Related Legislation Effective July 1, 2021.

License Reform

House Bill 1845 – This bill extends the effective date of Virginia ABC’s major license reform legislation. It will now be effective on January 1, 2022. Additionally, the bill allows on premises wine and beer licensees to sell wine or beer for off premises consumption and to allow those licensees to deliver wine and beer that the licensee is authorized to sell without a delivery permit.

Cocktails To Go

House Bill 1879 and Senate Bill 1299 – Both bills allow the continuation of a practice first conceived and initiated by ABC to allow restaurants to sell cocktails to go. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were shuttered, ABC created a safe and secure way for restaurants to offer cocktails to go with a meal. The General Assembly has now continued this practice in statute for a one year. ABC is conducting a study, as requested by the General Assembly, of cocktails to go as this relates to public safety concerns. More than 40 stakeholders are participating in the study.

Virtual Fundraising Events

House Bill 1973 – This bill allows a nonprofit corporation or association conducting virtual fundraising events to exercise the privilege of such license during the virtual fundraising event, including the sale and shipment of wine in closed containers.

Pending License Notification

House Bill 2131 – This bill requires ABC to notify the local chief administrative officer of a pending ABC license in their locality. The bill also amends certain provisions as to what constitutes “blight” for purposes of local action relative to activities at ABC-licensed establishments.

Games of Skill

House Bill 2168 – This bill makes it clear that a local county or city attorney, a commonwealth’s attorney and the attorney general can enforce against unlawful games of skill.

Special Event Licenses

House Bill 2266 and Senate Bill 1471 – Both bills authorize ABC, after the adoption of a local ordinance, to increase the frequency and duration of what are currently known as special event licenses. The new legislation renames this license a “designated outdoor refreshment area” license. The legislation will allow localities to work with ABC to create consumption areas in portions of the jurisdiction that are likely to be entertainment or walking districts. ABC licensees in the designated districts will be able to sell alcohol to patrons who can consume the beverages outside the licensed establishment so long as they remain in the designated outdoor area, which could consist of several blocks.

Sale of Lower Alcohol Beverages by Virginia ABC

Senate Bill 1428 – Beginning January 1, 2022, ABC will cease to sell low alcohol beverages in ABC retail stores unless they were manufactured by a Virginia distiller. Low alcohol beverages are spirits-based drinks consisting of 7.5% or less alcohol by volume. ABC retail stores will market Virginia-based low alcohol beverages and those products over 7.5% alcohol by volume. Low alcohol beverages are statutorily treated as wine for all purposes and this change is consistent with the treatment of Virginia wines in ABC’s retail stores.

For Licensees

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 FAQs

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