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Licenses

Virginia State Capitol Building

Legislative Synopsis

Two pieces of legislation proposed by Virginia ABC become effective on July 1, 2016. House bill (HB) 322 enables ABC to take swift action against a license for specific public safety issues at licensed establishments. HB 323 expands available merchandising opportunities with the “Virginia Is for Lovers” trademark. Both bills were passed by the General Assembly earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Read more.

Licensee Search

Use our online licensee search to find retail and banquet licensees by license number and other criteria.

Licensed establishment download instructions.

Restaurant Ordering

Place your orders online 24/7; view present and future discounting; and receive email notifications about your order status.

View the user's guide (PDF).

Submit MBAR

Submit your Mixed Beverage Annual Review (MBAR) online to fulfill requirements to report food-beverage ratio.

Download print form (PDF).
View more information.

Tax Resources

Access excise tax forms, make franchise and product requests and obtain permits for industrial and sacramental alcohol and importing personal alcohol.

Responsibility Guide

Responsibility Guide

Hot off the press is Virginia ABC’s Responsibility Guide for Licensees (PDF). The 32-page booklet is intended as a tool to help sellers and servers operate safe and compliant businesses. The free guide includes facts about fake IDs, tips on preventing underage sales, details on how to contact your ABC special agent as well as information about Virginia’s alcohol laws and regulations along with the penalties for misdemeanor and felony violations and an explanation of Virginia ABC’s hearings and appeals process. Download a copy or order single or multiple copies on our website. All orders will be delivered to your local Virginia ABC store for you to pick up. Please allow 4–6 weeks for processing and delivery.

Three Tier State System Graphic

Three-Tier System

Licensees hear about it all the time, but many people in the industry are still a bit confused when it comes to understanding Virginia’s three-tier system— the legal process for distributing alcoholic beverages. Set up in the United States after the repeal of Prohibition, the system recognizes three groups— manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers—and mandates specific rules and regulations each must follow to ensure that the distribution of alcohol is a fair process.

In pre-Prohibition times manufacturers produced beer, wine and spirits and sold them in their own establishments. Today’s system mandates that producers can sell their products only to wholesale distributors, who then sell to retailers and only retailers may sell to consumers. When these rules aren’t followed there are penalties. Rather than impose fines on violators, ABC Enforcement wants to partner with the alcohol industry to educate those in the marketplace.

Nearly every state has some form of regulations governing the distribution of alcoholic beverages and the relationships between producers, distributors and retailers. Even the federal government stipulates rules addressing the three-tier system. Producers, distributors or retailers with questions about Virginia’s three-tier system are encouraged to contact ABC Enforcement.

We check for ID

Five Facts about Counterfeit IDs

ABC Enforcement recognizes that it is difficult to spot a fake ID. The latest generation of counterfeit IDs is very high tech and appears virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Our special agents ask that sellers and servers continue to exercise a reasonable standard of scrutiny when checking IDs.

  1. Do your due diligence. Ask for ID if someone looks under the age of 30.
  2. Carefully read identification presented for proof of age.
  3. Trust your instincts when checking IDs. If something doesn’t seem right, you have the right to request a second form of ID.
  4. Refuse the sale. If you’re still not certain about the authenticity of the ID, err on the side of caution.
  5. Seek assistance from ABC Enforcement or local police if counterfeit ID usage is becoming a problem. ABC agents will be glad to provide additional training to assist your staff in the detection of these documents.
July New Products

New Products in July

A new class of spirits is on ABC store shelves! Virginia ABC listed added 41 new products to its extensive 2,600-item product catalog in July. This group of new products includes 10 whiskies, nine mixers and garnishes, four vodkas and cordials, three moonshines, two Virginia wines, tequilas, brandies and mezcals and one rum, scotch and vermouth. A full list of these products and descriptions, including information about availability in Virginia ABC stores, is on our website. Product availability varies between stores, but every store can secure any new product upon licensee request. You may also download the new product guide (PDF).

Virginia ABC Special Agent Badge

Partnering with Local Police and Licensees

Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but Virginia ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement understands that more is better when it comes to ensuring safe communities flourish in the commonwealth. The agency recently launched a new training program to empower local law enforcement agencies around Virginia to better respond to the most pressing alcohol-related problems in their jurisdictions. The overall goal is to partner with local police and licensees to proactively reduce incidents involving alcohol. ABC Enforcement hopes to empower local officers by providing strategies and tactics on how to deal with intoxicated customers and other alcohol issues. Read more.

Spirited Virginia Cover

Spirited Virginia Magazine

Our July–October 2016 issue introduces readers to the many frozen opportunities to find summer in a cocktail glass such as the Daiquiri and Piña Colada. This issue also includes features on National Rum Day, being adventurous with your drink choices as well as a story with tips on hosting the perfect pregame party. Readers will also find our second “Behind the Bar” feature where a Virginia bartender is profiled and news and notes from around Virginia ABC. View previous issues.

ID Checking Guide 2016

2016 ID Checking Guide

Checking driver’s licenses from the Commonwealth of Virginia may be easy enough, but when it comes to out-of-state licenses, the odds are against your catching frauds. If you’re looking for the latest resource for verifying IDs, consider using the same guide used by sales associates in Virginia ABC’s 350+ stores—the 2016 ID Checking Guide. This resource helps you make accurate, on-the-spot verification of driver’s licenses and ID cards. The ID Checking Guide, U.S. & Canada Edition, shows every valid driver’s license format in actual size and full color. Order yours for $23.95 plus shipping. View other licensee publications.

Zero Tolerance for Underage Consumption

Whether you are a new licensee or a seasoned establishment professional, we cannot stress enough your important role in the community. The selling and serving of alcoholic beverages is a business that is subject to higher legal and social accountability than almost any other industry. As a licensee, you are responsible for maintaining a safe, regulated business and shoulder many responsibilities, including preventing underage sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Virginia ABC has a strict "zero tolerance" policy for underage consumption and looks to you to aggressively avoid these sales. Read more about avoiding underage sales.

"LICENSES" AND "LICENSEES"

Virginia ABC grants a range of privileges, or "licenses," to individuals, groups and businesses enabling the manufacture, distribution, selling and serving of alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth.  Holders of these privileges are commonly called “licensees."

ABC Special Agents

Special agents are the primary resource for questions related to operating a business with an ABC license. Contact a special agent via your regional ABC office.

MIPS Access

Access MIPS (Management of Inventory and Product Sales) for vendors and carriers.

Download the user’s guide (PDF).

E-Newsletter

Sign up for the quarterly Licensee e-newsletter to stay informed about selling and serving alcohol in Virginia.

Licensee Training

Virginia ABC offers training to help sellers and servers become more responsible and better understand ABC laws, rules and regulations. Register online for training led by a team of ABC special agents.

Circular Letters

Circular letters are periodically issued by the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement to communicate changes in ABC regulations to the licensee community. View circular letters.

BRINGING PERSONAL ALCOHOL INTO VIRGINIA

Moving into Virginia from out of the country or from another U.S. state? Returning to Virginia from vacation? Learn more about bringing personal alcohol into the Commonwealth.

If you are a consumer and wish to purchase a keg click here.