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Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration
 

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ABC-Licensed Beer, Wine and Spirits Carry-Out and Delivery FAQ

Eligibility and Requirements

What are the hours that beer, wine, and spirits can be sold for carry-out and delivery with prepared food?

Daily between 7:00 a.m. and midnight.

Are hotel license holders eligible to participate?

No. The provision in the emergency rulemaking only allows restaurant and tavern license holders.

Are restaurants and taverns eligible to obtain a tasting or sampling permit?

No.

Are restaurants and taverns that hold a brew pub, wine pub, or distillery pub endorsement required to register?

Yes, all restaurants and taverns that would like to stay open for carry-out and delivery during the Public Emergency and Public Health Emergency must register.

Delivery

Can I only deliver beer, wine, and spirits to DC residences?

Yes. Alcohol delivery service may only be to residences located in DC.

Does my delivery person need to carry “proof” that they can deliver beer, wine, and spirits?

No. They only need to carry a government-issued photo ID that verifies that they are 18 years of age or older—the minimum age needed to be allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages.

Do delivery persons need to verify the age of patrons ordering beer, wine, and spirits?

Yes. The minimum age to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in DC is 21 years of age. All personnel including delivery persons must make a reasonable effort to verify the age and identity of those who attempt to purchase wine, beer, or spirits from them. If a patron cannot produce a government issued photo ID that states they are 21 years or older, no alcoholic beverages may be given.

For transparency purposes and to expedite service, we recommend that age and identify verification requirements and any related refund policy be included on your website, social channels, and order confirmation autoresponders, and during phone sales.

Is curbside delivery permitted?

Yes. Curbside delivery of alcoholic beverages is considered to be carry-out and is permitted. The curbside delivery must be provided to an individual 21 years of age or older. Drivers should be cognizant about not blocking the road, including bicycle lanes.

Are third party vendors permitted to deliver alcoholic beverages on my establishment’s behalf?

Yes. ABC-licensed establishments may partner with third party vendors to deliver alcoholic beverages. The delivery person must verify the purchaser’s age and identity, and the vendor must operate in accordance with previously issued Board advisory opinions listed below:

Product

What is classified as beer, wine, and spirits?

Classification of common products is included in our Quick Guide.

What qualifies as one (1) prepared food item?

Prepared food is considered food that has been assembled such as a sandwich, salad, smoothie, etc. Pre-packaged items such as chips can be ordered in addition to prepared food but do not satisfy the prepared food requirement.

Can mixed cocktails be sold for carry-out and delivery?

Yes, provided the alcoholic beverage is placed in a closed container. Both open containers and the public consumption of alcohol remain illegal in the District.

Can I sell alcoholic beverages for carry-out and delivery in their original sealed packaging?

Yes. Taverns and restaurants can sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in their original sealed container in addition to closed containers.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount of alcoholic beverages that can be purchased with a carry-out or delivery order ?

No. However, the off-premises carry-out or delivery of alcoholic beverages must include one or more prepared food items.

Can a retailer or tavern sell fewer than six (6) miniatures of spirits or wine for off-premises consumption?

Yes. This restriction only applies to Class A liquor stores.

Can I sell kegs of beer, wine and spirits to customers?

Yes. Beer, wine and spirits can all be sold in kegs to customers for off-premises consumption.

Am I permitted to include free hand sanitizer products with an alcoholic beverage carry-out or delivery order?

Yes.

Can restaurants and taverns allow their trained bartenders to pre-mix cocktails in large batches and sell them for carry-out or delivery ? 

Yes, provided any beverages containing spirits are not placed in a reusable container that patrons are permitted to bring back to the establishment for re-fill (growlers) and are not advertised to the public as either growlers or crowlers.

Are restaurants and taverns that hold a brew pub, wine pub, or distillery pub endorsement permitted to sell and deliver for off-premises consumption alcoholic beverages that are not manufactured on the licensed premises? 

Yes.

Packaging

What is defined as a closed container?

Closed containers are bottles, cans, jugs, kegs and other containers that when provided to the patron have been closed with a top, cap, cork, seal, or tab seal. Containers that are open or from which the top, cap, cork, seal, or tab seal have been removed or not placed by the licensee on the container are not permitted and constitute an open container in violation of District law. Licensees are advised to use common sense with regard to their packaging selections and utilize packaging that discourages public consumption. The placement of a lime or lemon wedge in an open beer bottle does not constitute a closed container. The placement of a straw in a lid container also does not constitute a closed container.

Does beer, wine, and spirits need to be packaged or sealed in a specific manner? 

All alcoholic products must be provided in closed containers. Licensees are not required to attach any special seals or labels to packaging at this time.

Are growlers and crowlers of beer and wine considered closed containers? 

Yes. Provided that they are sealed at the restaurant or tavern for off-premises consumption prior to being delivered or provided to the customer as part of its carry-out order. Growlers and crowlers of spirits are not permitted under District law.

General

Are patrons permitted to drink alcoholic beverages at a restaurant or tavern while waiting for their carry-out order?

No. On-premises consumption is currently not permitted at restaurants and taverns. Alcoholic beverages sold by restaurants or taverns must be placed in containers designed for off-premises consumption.

Can a restaurant or tavern launch a website or app where customers may purchase closed containers of the licensee’s beer, wine, or spirits for pick up at a scheduled time from the restaurant or tavern?

Yes, this is permissible.

How will ABRA enforce the emergency Act? 

There have been no changes to how ABRA enforces the District’s ABC laws. The enforcement team maintains daily around the clock coverage. Licensees are subject to fines and license suspension and/or revocation for violations.

Persons that suspect that an ABC-licensed or non-licensed establishment is violating ABC laws, may submit an anonymous complaint 24/7 online, phone, or email to [email protected].

Will I be issued a new license with a special endorsement?

Not at this time. Licensees that register online will receive an email confirming their registration within minutes of submitting their form. If the email confirmation is not received, please contact the licensing division at (202) 442-4423.