Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration

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Full-Service Grocery Store Requirements

Few retailers qualify for a class B license to sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption in the District. The ABC Board finalized criteria for full-service grocery stores to apply for class B licenses.

To be a full-service grocery store, a retailer must be licensed as a grocery store and sell at least six of the following categories:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh and uncooked meats, poultry and seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Canned foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Dry groceries and baked goods, and
  • Non-alcoholic beverages.

To qualify for a license, a store is required to dedicate a certain amount of square footage—or selling area—to the sale of these food products, including a minimum of either:

  • Fifty percent (50%) of the store’s total square footage, or
  • 6,000 square feet.

Stores also need to dedicate at least 5 percent of the selling area to each of the food categories. In order for the square footage to be considered part of the selling area, it must be open to the public and may not include storage, preparation areas or rest rooms.

Full-service grocery stores that meet these requirements can apply for a class B license. Please note there is currently a moratorium that prohibits the issuance of licenses to full-service grocery stores in Ward 4 with the exception of 4C07.