These new Virginia ABC laws go into effect July 1


RICHMOND, Va. — July 1 is the day new laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly go into effect across the Commonwealth. Several of those new laws will impact Virginia ABC stores and the way Virginia alcohol sales are governed.

Here is the list of new laws provided by the Virginia ABC:

Summary Suspension

HB 322. The new law enables Virginia ABC to take immediate action against a licensee in limited instances involving an imminent threat to public safety involving serious injury or bodily harm on the licensed premises or on property immediately adjacent thereto. This law helps speed action against licensees posing an imminent threat to public safety and enables Virginia ABC to be more responsive to community concerns regarding such establishments.

VTC Partnership

HB 323. This law permits the Virginia ABC to sell more than spirits, Virginia wine and mixers in its retail stores as a result of a partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation. This new law provides options for the Virginia ABC to cross-promote and provide unique items branded with the “Virginia is for Lovers” trademark.

Store Operating Hours

HB 29 & HB 30. As part of the final budget, Virginia ABC retail stores may open an hour earlier on Sundays (noon) and may also be open on New Year’s Day.

Performing Arts Facility License

HB 226, HB 755 & SB 154. This law allows the sale of mixed beverages at certain performing arts facilities in the cities of Richmond, Norfolk and Waynesboro.

Virginia Cider Tax

HB 654 & SB 569. This law adds the clarification that a portion of the tax collected on cider produced by Virginia farm winery licensees is to be transferred to the Virginia Wine Promotion Fund.

Corkage Fee

HB 706. This law adds beer and cider to the list of alcoholic beverages that may be consumed by customers on the premises of any restaurant with an ABC license, provided the alcoholic beverage has been lawfully acquired and is brought onto the premises by the patron in a sealed container. This law also allows the licensee to charge a corkage fee to the customers who wish to bring their own wine, beer or cider on to the licensed premises for consumption.

Establishment Locations for Farm Winery, Limited Distillery and Limited Brewery

HB 879, SB 578 & SB 579. This law modifies the permissible locations for farm wineries, limited distilleries and limited breweries to “land zoned agricultural.” This means land zoned as an agricultural district or classification or land otherwise permitted by a locality for farm winery, limited distillery or limited brewery use. This zoning designation does not include land zoned “residential conservation.”

Distillery Tastings

HB 1350 & SB 536. This law increases the total amount of distilled spirits served as tasting samples at an ABC distillery store location to 3 ounces with no single sample exceeding ½ ounce per spirits product unless served as a mixed beverage cocktail, in which case a single sample may contain up to 1½ ounces of spirits. The law also requires the distillery to develop a method to track consumption of each customer participating in a distillery store tasting.

Additional Mixed Beverage License

SB 126. This law creates an additional mixed beverage license for the Kanawha Valley Arena Resort in the town of Dugspur, without requiring a local referendum.

Additional Wine and Beer License

SB 695. This law creates an additional retail on-premise wine and beer license for a concert and dinner-theater venue in the town of Natural Bridge Station.

Farm Winery Trading

SB 758. This law makes it easier for a winery to exchange agricultural products for the purposes of making a variety of wines while not putting at risk its farm winery designation. Wineries can use grapes grown onsite to satisfy the farm winery requirement, but then exchange those grapes for a different variety in order to make different wines.

Agency Liability

SB 746. This law entitles a person who contests an agency action in a civil case brought under the Administrative Process Act and who substantially prevails on the merits of the case to recover reasonable costs and attorney fees from that agency if the agency action was in violation of law or was for an improper purpose. The award of attorney fees is limited to $25,000.