Virginia ABC > Licenses > Retail Resources > Happy Hour Promotion

Happy Hour Promotion

Happy Hour Advertising Changes Effective July 1, 2019

"Happy hour" is defined as a specified period of time during which alcoholic beverages are sold at prices reduced from the customary price established by a retail licensee. Effective July 1, 2019, legislation will allow licensed establishments to do the following to advertise their happy hours:
  • Include prices.
  • Use creative terms such as "Wine Down Wednesday" or "Thirsty Thursday."
  • Promote the time span of their happy hour.
  • List specific drink types and brands.
  • Promote drink specials in advertisements and on flyers, posters, social media and their website (subject to other alcohol advertising laws and regulations)
The following restrictions will remain in place:
  • Happy hour may not be offered between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
  • Happy hour specials may not promote over-consumption or underage drinking. Advertising two-for-one and "bottomless" drink specials are illegal.
Be certain all employees know the rules regarding happy hour and adhere to the 9 p.m. deadline for selling drinks at a reduced price. The licensee could incur violations if staff let a customer "slide in a little late." It’s important for licensees to maintain a regular, proactive relationship with their special agent. If you have specific questions about conducting happy hour, please contact your special agent.

Revised June 20, 2019

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

Need Help?

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. For step-by-step assistance in banquet licensing, see our Licensing Wizard.


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.

The information on this page is meant for general guidance only. For specific questions, contact your ABC special agent. To view ABC laws and regulations, visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System.