Virginia ABC > Licenses > Retail Resources > Record Keeping

Record Keeping

Want to set your business up for success this year?

Virginia ABC can help, we encourage licensees to create a Virginia ABC Licensing, or “VAL” account and sync your licenses. The system makes it effortless to manage licensee related records, submit annual reports, complete licensing tasks, track important dates and required training all from the convenience of your computer! You will notice an increase in efficiency and be better prepared for a Virginia ABC special agent to inspect your business.

The Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) requires licensees to comply with the following record keeping regulations.

  • All licensees shall keep complete and accurate records of all transactions at your place of business for at least two years. Records of alcoholic beverage transactions (including but not limited to: invoices, bank statements, credit card or EFT transactions, checks, and money orders) should be kept separately in an orderly arrangement and must be available for inspection at the request of ABC agents. (3 VAC 5-70-90.A)
  • Keep wine, beer and liquor invoices for two years. Invoices shall show date of purchase, the type and amount bought and the name and address of the persons from whom you purchased. Daily sales records shall also be kept and show the amount of food and alcoholic beverages sold and prices charged. (3 VAC 5-70-90.C)
  • If a corporation holds a license and any changes in the officers, directors, or shareholders owning 10 percent or more of the stock occurs, Virginia ABC must be notified within 30 days. (3 VAC 5-70-90.G)
  • Each license must be posted in a location on the premise where it is clearly visible. (COV 4.1-203)


  • All licensed manufacturers, bottlers or wholesalers of alcoholic beverages. (3 VAC 5-70-9.B)
  • Every retail licensee. (3 VAC 5-70-90.C)
  • Mixed beverage licensees. Restaurants, caterers and clubs, are required by law to submit a Mixed Beverage Annual Review (MBAR) to Virginia ABC. (3 VAC 5-70-90.D & F)

In addition, mixed beverage licensees must track sales and purchases of all mixed beverages, food and nonalcoholic beverages. Once a year, each mixed beverage licensee is required to submit an annual review report to the Board showing all purchases and sales of alcoholic beverages during the year as well as an accurate inventory. (3 VAC 5-70-90.D & F). More information can be found on the Mixed Beverage Annual Review page.

What? MBAR is the name of a report that documents the food and beverage sales of mixed-beverage licensees.
When? Once a year within 30 days after the end of the mixed beverage licensee year. (VAC 5-70-90.D.2)
Where? Please take this opportunity to setup your VAL account, associate your existing licenses and complete your MBAR submission online.

To submit MBARs online, you must first create an account with Virginia ABC's Account Central, the portal that provides access to a range of web applications using a single log-on. Need assistance? Download instructions for filling the MBAR online (PDF).

Note: MBAR requires that inventory worksheets Form INVR be completed and uploaded into the VAL system. Instructions for completing inventory reports can be found here. It is necessary to report your current inventory. A Licensee must use separate forms for distilled spirits, wine and beer.

Due Dates and Penalties
MBAR documents are to be completed, signed by the licensee, returned to the ABC Headquarters in Mechanicsville by the due date. Failure to complete and return all required forms by the due date could result in suspension or revocation of your Alcoholic Beverage License.

Common reporting errors

  • MBARs not signed
  • Information left blank or math errors
  • Inventory without Product Name, Size, Quantity, Trade Name, License Number and Signature.
  • Must use pre-printed MBAR form provided (DO NOT CREATE YOUR OWN FORM)

Ownership Changes

  • No license is transferable from one person to another or from one place to another. (COV 4.1-203)
  • Only the individual, partnership, association or corporation whose name appears on the license may use the privileges of the license. Any change in the status on non-corporate ownership, such as the sale of the business or taking on a new partner, automatically terminates the current license and a new application must be filed.
  • Persons to whom a license has been issued should not allow other persons to receive a percentage of the income of the business or have an ownership interest in the business (no "shadow owners or silent partners"). This does not prohibit the payment of franchise fees or the payment of rent based on gross receipts. (3 VAC 5-50-220)

    Revised on: 1/23/2023
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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 Community Health & Prevention, (804) 977-7440 or [email protected].

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.