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Virginia ABC > Licenses > Retail Resources > Delivery Laws and Regulations

Alcoholic Beverage Delivery Laws and Regulations

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Guidelines for Licensees

What containers are approved for cocktails to go?

  • As of July 1, 2022, all cocktails and mixed beverages must be served in a closed container provided by the licensee marked with the phrase "contains alcoholic beverages".
  • Container should NOT contain straw, sipping holes or other openings and is sealed in a manner that allows a person to readily discern whether the container has been opened or tampered with subsequent to its original closure.

Who is liable if alcohol is delivered to underage or intoxicated customer?
The individual who makes an illegal sale is criminally responsible and therefore may be arrested. A conviction of the offense may result in a fine, jail time or both. The business is administratively responsible and may be issued an administrative violation report that could result in the suspension or revocation of the ABC license, as well as a monetary penalty.

What are the consequences of delivery to underage or intoxicated person?
The individual who makes an illegal sale is criminally responsible and therefore may be arrested. A conviction of the offense may result in a fine, jail time or both. The business is administratively responsible and may be issued an administrative violation report that could result in the suspension or revocation of the ABC license, as well as a monetary penalty.

What are the requirements to be a delivery driver?
The delivery driver must have a valid driver's license and be at least 21 years old, vehicle inspection and vehicle registration to deliver mixed beverages or cocktails.

Does happy hour pricing apply to delivery orders (no discounting after 9 p.m.)?
Yes, happy hour pricing applies to delivery orders. No discounts are permitted after 9 p.m.

Can a restaurant offer and advertise different pricing for mixed beverages “to go?”
A mixed beverage licensee may have a price for “to go” cocktails that is different than the regular menu price during this temporary privilege if the discount is not below cost and there is no advertising that entices illegal actions like intoxication or underage consumption. All other advertising regulations apply. The “to go” cocktail price would have to be always the same, or the discounted price would have to end at 9 p.m.

Can I sell a pitcher of margaritas if it contains a maximum of four drinks?
No. For each meal ordered, the restaurant may sell two cocktails in individual 16-ounce containers. A maximum of four 16-ounce cocktails may be purchased assuming two meals were ordered. Sales of “to go” pitchers, no matter what the size, are not permitted.

What is meant by “maximum combined volume not to exceed 16 ounces” in your guidance document?
All contents of the cocktail or mixed drink must be 16 ounces or less. This includes ice, but there is no requirement for a cocktail or drink to be served with ice. The customer could add ice after delivery.

Can a customer bring to the restaurant their own container such as a mini growler or water bottle that has a screw top and no sip top?
No, all cocktails and mixed drinks must be served in a container provided by the licensee.

What age is required for the delivery driver of mixed drinks or cocktails?
The delivery driver must be at least 21 years old.

Can a restaurant sell a sealed, ready-to-drink canned cocktail that does not qualify as a low alcohol beverage cooler (meaning, a drink containing spirits between .5% and 7.5% alcohol by volume)?
No. Restaurants cannot sell mixed beverages to go, for carry out or delivery in their original container.

Can a restaurant sell 50ml bottles (minis) of spirits to go, for carry out or delivery?
No.

Can we sell a shot of just spirits or a pour of just spirits on the rocks?
No. All cocktails or mixed beverages must contain one mixer and must be served with the ingredients (spirits and mixer) combined.

Can I break up takeout and delivery orders into separate orders to increase the amount of cocktails or mixed drinks that can be sold to individuals?
No. The maximum four cocktails for restaurants and two mixed drinks for distilleries per order applies to per vehicle pick-up and/or per delivery address.

 
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Virginia ABC offers free online training to help managers, sellers and servers to become more responsible and better understand ABC laws, rules and regulations. For more information, contact Education and Prevention, (804) 977-7440 or education@virginiaabc.com.