New ABRA Rules Go into effect today including “elimination of a $25 cap on corking fees”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

From a press release:

“Several new regulations go into effect today that impact businesses licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages in the District. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) adopted the new rules to help clarify alcoholic beverage regulations and as a result of public comments it had received.

One of the most notable rule changes is the elimination of a $25 cap on corking fees. As a result, ABC licensed restaurants, taverns, hotels, nightclubs and multipurpose facilities are now able to set their own fee for opening bottles of wine that patrons bring to their establishments as long as the cost is disclosed to the patron prior to opening the bottle.

Another new rule allows all businesses that are in the process of obtaining a liquor license to apply for a temporary—or stipulated—license. Stipulated licenses allow a business to sell alcoholic beverages before obtaining their permanent license. In order to apply, a business must have the support of its Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) and pay a $100 fee. Previously, retailers like convenience, grocery and liquor stores were not able to obtain stipulated licenses under District alcohol regulations.

New criteria have been finalized for businesses that want to be considered full-service grocery stores. These retailers are one of the few types of stores in the District that are still eligible to apply for a new license to sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption. To be considered a full-service grocery store, a retailer would need to sell a full line of defined food products and dedicate a specific amount of square footage to the sale of those food products.”

8 Comment

  • I don’t think this is going to be a big change. If places don’t want to allow corkage, they just don’t have to offer it. If it’s too expensive and I want to bring a nice bottle of wine, I’ll just go elsewhere.

  • I really wish more places would offer an inexpensive corkage fee ($10-15?) or maybe discount corkage night? Or maybe like a prix fixe deal where corkage is free? personally, I kind of like the idea of a free corkage night if you order the prix fixe, any place offer similar deals in town? I understand they make money on alcohol sales but if I’m going out I end up either eating (and having one glass or wine or one cocktail) or drinking (buying a bottle of wine) and ordering one or two small apps.

  • PDleftMtP

    By the way, restaurants have been ignoring the old law (and ABRA hasn’t been enforcing it) for years. When folks have talked about kicking up a stink, the wine geeks have pointed out that they don’t have to offer corkage at all (and you don’t have to go there or bring wine), so making a big stink about it was more likely to result in losing the option than suddenly having a place offer $25 corkage. I just voted against CityZen with my feet.

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