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Types of ABC Licenses, Endorsements and Permits

ABC licenses are issued in the District based on license type and class.

License Types

There are several alcoholic beverage license types:

  1. Manufacturer: Operates a plant that manufactures spirits, wine (including cider) or beer.
  2. Wholesaler: Sells alcoholic beverages to other District ABC licensees for resale.
  3. Off-premise retailers: Stores where alcoholic beverages may be purchased but may only be consumed off the licensed premises.
  4. On-premise retailers: Establishments where alcoholic beverages may be purchased and consumed on the licensed premises. On-premises retailers include restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, hotels, theaters, museums, sports facilities, passenger-carrying ships and trains.
  5. Caterer: Sells and serves alcoholic beverages at catered events as part of the licensee’s preparation and service of food.
  6. Solicitor: Permitted to transport samples of alcoholic beverages to ABC-licensed establishments on behalf of a vendor and to take orders on behalf of the vendor that the solicitor represents.
  7. Festival License: Temporarily permits the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages at sporting or performing arts events for up to 15 days.
  8. Temporary License: Temporarily permits the sale and service of alcoholic beverages for up to four days at banquets, picnics, bazaars, fairs, or similar public gatherings.
  9. ABC Manager: Individual certified to manage one or more ABC establishments.

License Classes

License class determines the kinds of alcoholic beverages an establishment can sell.

  • Manufacturer Class A: Permits the production of spirits and wine (wine includes cider). 
  • Manufacturer Class B: Permits the production of beer.
  • Manufacturer Class C: Permits the production of baked goods with a maximum of five percent of alcohol per volume.
  • Wholesaler Class A: Permits the distribution and sale of spirits, beer, and wine.
  • Wholesaler Class B: Permits the distribution and sale of beer and wine.
  • Off-premises Retailer Class A: Permits a store to sell spirits, beer, and wine for consumption off the licensed premises.
  • Off-premises Retailer Class B: Permits a store to sell beer and wine for consumption off the licensed premises.
  • On-premises Retailer Class C: Permits the sale, service, and consumption of spirits, beer, and wine at a restaurant, tavern, nightclub, hotel, and multipurpose facility. The licenses are further defined as follows by type of establishment:
    • Restaurant: C/R license
    • Tavern: C/T license 
    • Nightclub: C/N license 
    • Hotel: C/H license 
    • Multipurpose facility: C/X license
  • On-premises Retailer Class D: Permits the sale, service, and consumption of beer and wine at a restaurant, tavern, nightclub, hotel, and multipurpose facility.The licenses are further defined as follows:
    • Restaurant: D/R 
    • Tavern: D/T
    • Nightclub: D/N
    • Hotel: D/H
    • Multipurpose Facility: D/X
  • Club Class C: Permits consumption of spirits, beer, and wine at a club.
  • Club Class D: Permits consumption of beer and wine at a club.
  • Common Carrier Class C: Permits the sale, service, and consumption of spirits, beer, and wine on a passenger carrying train or boat.
  • Common Carrier Class D: Permits the sale, service, and consumption of beer and wine on a passenger carrying train or boat.
  • Temporary License Class F: Temporarily permits the sale and consumption of beer and wine for up to four days at banquets, picnics, bazaars, fairs, or similar public gatherings.
  • Temporary License Class G: Temporarily permits the sale and consumption of spirits, beer and wine for up to four days at banquets, picnics, bazaars, fairs or similar public gatherings.
  • Festival License Class H: Temporarily permits the sale and consumption of beer and wine at sporting, cultural or performing arts events for up to 15 days.
  • Festival License Class I: Temporarily permits the sale and consumption of spirits, beer and wine at sporting or performing arts events for up to 15 days.

Endorsement and Permit Types

  • Entertainment Endorsement: There are three different types of entertainment endorsement categories that allow a licensee to either provide live entertainment, dancing, or charge a cover. Restaurants, taverns and hotels that want to provide entertainment, dancing, or charge a cover can apply for one, two or all three endorsement categories.
  • Summer Garden or Sidewalk Café Endorsement: Allows a restaurant, tavern, multipurpose facility, hotel or nightclub to sell, serve and allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages on outdoor public or private space.
  • Tasting Permit: Allows a manufacturer or retailer to provide customers with a tasting of products on a portion of their licensed premises.
  • Brew Pub Permit: Allows a licensee to brew beer on or adjacent to the premises and to sell the beer for consumption at a licensed restaurant, tavern, multipurpose facility, hotel, or nightclub. Also allows the licensee to sell the beer to wholesalers.
  • Wine Pub Permit: Allows a licensee to manufacture wine on or adjacent to the premises and to sell the wine for consumption at a licensed restaurant, tavern, multipurpose facility, hotel, or nightclub. Also allows the licensee to sell the wine to wholesalers.
  • Distillery Pub Permit: Allows an on-premises establishment to manufacture, distill and store craft liquors on the licensed premises or in an area immediately adjacent to the premises.
  • Manufacturer’s On-Site Sales and Consumption Permit: Allows a spirit, beer or wine manufacturer to sell their products for consumption on their licensed premises.