New Virginia ABC Laws Enacted by the Legislature

Here is a List of Likely New ABC Laws in Virginia for 2014

(All the following bills have passed the House & Senate.  The Governor must sign them for them to actually become law on July 1, 2014.)

SB 596: Alcoholic beverage control; state and local license taxes on certain brewery licensees. Imposes a state license tax of $350 and a local license tax of $250 for breweries that manufacture no more than 500 barrels of beer during the licensing year.  This bill helps small breweries get started by lowering their licensing costs.

SB 502:  Alcoholic beverage control; limited mixed-beverage restaurant licenses.  A previous law allows desert shops that are not full fledged restaurants to serve limited quantities (up to 10% of their total gross sales) of liqueurs’ (eg. Bailey’s, Chambourd).  This bill allows them to also sell wine, beer, and champagne for on-premises consumption, provided the sale of such alcoholic beverages, together with the sale of dessert wines and liqueur-based drinks, does not exceed the previously agreed 10 percent threshold.


HB 270 & SB 337:  Alcoholic beverage control; certain licensees to provide information to consumer while on the premises of licensed retailers.  VA law does not allow alcohol manufacturers (e.g. brewers, distillers or wineries) or distributors to sell to the general public.  Only retailers can sell to the general public.  This bill allows wineries to be present at restaurants and retail shops to explain their wine.  It states that any winery or distributor can provide to adult customers of licensed retail establishments information about wine being consumed on such premises. This bill incorporates SB 224 and SB 300.


SB 430:  Alcoholic beverage control; limited brewery license created; local regulation of certain activities.  Creates a new limited brewery license for breweries who want to sell their beer on the farm where the ingredients are grown and brewed.  It allows breweries that manufacture no more than 15,000 barrels of beer per calendar year, are located on a farm in the Commonwealth, and use agricultural products that are grown on the farm in the manufacture of their beer. The bill also limits the restrictions that a local government can place on it by prohibiting the imposition of minimum parking, road access, or road upgrade requirements on any licensed limited brewery.

SB 178: Alcoholic beverage control; handling of tasting fees by sight-seeing carrier. Creates a new permit that allows sight-seeing carriers transporting individuals for compensation to a licensed winery, brewery, or restaurant to collect the licensee’s tasting fees from tour participants for the sole purpose of remitting such fees to the licensee.


SB 104: Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of gift shop licenses.  Present law does not allow people to consume alcohol at a retail store which sells alcohol for off premises consumption.  This bill expands the privileges of a gift shop license to allow the licensee to give to any person to whom wine or beer may be lawfully sold (i) a sample of wine not to exceed two ounces by volume or (ii) a sample of beer not to exceed four ounces by volume for on-premises consumption. Such licensee may also give samples of wine and beer in designated areas at events held by the licensee for the purpose of featuring and educating the consuming public about the alcoholic beverages being tasted.

HB 1141: Alcoholic beverage control; annual arts venue event license.  In order to serve any alcohol for on premises consumption, the establishment must be a full service restaurant.  But there are limited exceptions.  This bill creates a new annual arts venue event license and sets out the privileges of this new license and the state and local license taxes. The bill defines an arts venue as a commercial or nonprofit establishment that is open to the public and in which works of art are sold or displayed.  (Note:  I am against all of these exceptions.  It is not fair to restaurants who have to pay for a full service kitchen to grant these exceptions.  I voted “No” but the bill still passed.)

HB 882:  Alcoholic beverage control; sale of wine and cider in growlers. Allows the sale of wine in growlers or other reusable containers that are federally approved, provided such containers are labeled in accordance with Board regulations and limited for use to persons licensed to sell wine at retail for both off-premises and on-premises consumption. The bill also allows the sale of cider in containers that are federally approved, provided such containers are labeled in accordance with Board regulations and limited for use by persons licensed to sell cider at retail for both off-premises and on-premises consumption. The bill contains technical amendments.


HB 282:  Alcoholic beverage control; contract winemaking facility; nonpayment.  In the past, the law said that a winery can only make wine from grapes grown at its own winery.  Last year, a bill was passed that allowed wineries to contract with other wineries to make wine with grapes grown off-site as long as the wine is returned and sold at the original winery.  This bill addresses the issue of what happens if the winery #1 sends its grapes to winery #2, but then refuses to pay winery #2.  This bill allows winery #2 (called the “contract winemaking facility”) to sell the wine it produced if the terms of payment have not been fulfilled in accordance with the contract with the winery or farm winery that supplied the grapes or other agricultural products.

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