“The District of Columbia now joins 37 other states that permit liquor stores to be open on Sundays”

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2013 at 11:00 am 33 Comments

From an ABRA press release:

District of Columbia Mayor, Vincent C. Gray, signed yesterday the comprehensive “Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act” (Bill), which is now in effect on an emergency basis. The Bill was authored by Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham based on the recommendations of an ABC Working Group, which was formed in December 2011. The Council adopted the Bill on December 18, 2012.

Of significance, the Bill allows Sunday alcoholic beverage sales by liquor stores. The District of Columbia now joins 37 other states that permit liquor stores to be open on Sundays. Liquor stores are currently permitted to remain open on Sundays in Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. ABRA Director Fred Moosally stated, “ABRA will begin accepting applications from liquor stores to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages on Sundays starting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.”

Growlers, which are reusable containers holding up to 64 fluid ounces of beer, may now be sold for off-premise consumption at brew pubs, liquor stores, and full service grocery stores. The sale of growlers of beer for off-premise consumption was previously limited to the District’s three licensed breweries.

Continues after the jump.

The Bill also requires that ABRA conduct free orientation classes for new licensees as well as the general public on existing ABC laws and regulations, noise abatement and sound management, and working proactively with Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, neighborhood and business groups, and residents. The first orientation class has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at 2 p.m.

Additional highlights of the Bill include: allowing licensees to electronically store books and records on-premises; increasing from 14% to 15% the alcohol content that may be sold by off-premise retailers that sell wine and beer; changing the term Voluntary or Cooperative Agreement to Settlement Agreement; clarifying the provisions that are permitted to be included in a Settlement Agreement; creating a new permit to allow for Wine Pubs; amending the requirements of a Security Plan; and requiring ABRA to implement a complaint program that receives and addresses noise complaints in real-time.

Please refer to ABRA’s website, www.abra.dc.gov, to find the full text for The Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2012 and for further information regarding its implementation.

  • saf

    “The District of Columbia now joins 37 other states ”

    GRRRRRR. Not “other states.” Should be just “states.” Seriously, if the city wants to make the point that we are not a state, they need to be clear and consistent in that message.

    • Those are quite the reforms.

      saf makes a good point. I hadn’t thought much about it before, but the District should not refer to itself as something it is not.

    • Anonymous

      This is likely not an oversight, but rather intended. DC regularly refers to itself as a state, except where its non-state status is precisely on point. “Office of State Superintendent of Education,” etc. I don’t mind it. It is appropriately defiant. Plus, the way any chunk of people and land in the world gains state status is first to declare itself a state, and then to be recognized by other states as a state.

  • Ben

    FINALLY! Growlers at the liquor store / Whole Foods / everywhere else it’s logical to do so!

    • Anonymous

      NEWS: Now that all the other people have been gentrified out, liquor license moratoriums have been lifted… Just another case of how fundamental unfairness driven by economics happens in modern day society… And in advance, this is not trolling, it’s an unfortunate reality that should be noted.

      • Anonymous

        To be fair, it may be possible if not likely that some of these “other” people you speak of were the ones causing the problems that led to some of the current regulations.

      • ?

        Anyone know when the Sunday moratorium went into place (always?) or the dates any of the prior serious efforts to allow Sunday sales? Gentrification does, if nothing else, raise rent and demand greater sales but I’m not sure that you can say the city is being unfair, though I admit my ignorance of events suggesting otherwise.

      • nathaniel

        I would point out that the strongest opposition to liberalization of the rules in general and issuance of licences in specific cases tends to be the oldest residents of an area.

        This is not a case of unfairness, this is a case of the new residents wanting something that the older residents did not.

        • Anonymous


        • Farnsworth

          Yeah, otherwise who are the imagined overlords making these decisions from a distance?

      • bb

        this is really not the right issue for the class and race division discussion. now, outlawing singles sales, big class issue. was it a gentrification issue when the district allowed grocery stores to sell beer and wine? no, it wasn’t.
        also this new allowance also applies to areas that are not gentrified, nor was it in place in areas that have long been wealthy.
        not all changes or laws are about gentrification.

      • Anonymous

        You are making quite an assumption here, some facts would help your case. I still think that bars and restaurants were the ones who profited most by the blue laws, and probably had the most vested interest in prohibiting Sunday sales. Not that I have any evidence for this, but the profit motive is a stong one.

        And why is it when we talk about dangerous drunks, it’s always the sad cases hanging out around liquor stores and not the college kids and twentysomethings who can’t handle their booze and get into fights and ugly scenes all over this town. Most of the puke is theirs.

        So no, I’m not convinced that gentrification has anything to do with this.

        • makes me wonder if costco has something to do with it.
          not that i mind either way.

          • Anonymous

            Me either. Regardless of what I said, the truth is I’m running around all week and on Saturday with work and the house and etc. etc., and I’m sure I will be taking advantage of this. That is, if one of the decent liquor stores opts to stay open, and not just the Velikoff pushers.

      • Anonymous

        In addition to the race and class issues, though, it is also a religious issue. The people who have moved out of the city have tended to be Christian fundamentalists who insist on using government to impose their morality on others. (And let’s be honest, that’s what the ban was in large part about.) I am not a fan of that religious persuasion, and I’m happy not to have its morals imposed on my Sunday commerce anymore, thankyouverymuch.

      • NMP Dude

        Alright, I’ll bite…

        Come on over to Michigan Park/Lamond Riggs/S. Dakota Ave. There are 2 liquor stores (on Riggs Rd) in an area the size of Petworth and Columbia Heights combined. Know why? As one other commenter already noted, my neighborhood is full of lovely, albeit, older, more conservative Washingtonians that raise holy hell with their ANC and Council members at the very suggestion of a bar/liquor store/ or even GROCERY STORE that sells booze (the closest places are 12th St. NE in Brookland)

        These folks simply don’t want booze around. They aren’t being “denied” this because of their race. It’s a community decision and you really need to be more careful when you try and play the race card.

      • anonymous

        “this is not trolling” : trolling = inflammable : flammable.

  • That Man A


  • Thor

    Sometimes logic does prevail.


    I’m sure we’ll see a lot of MD and VA residents driving in on Sundays.

    • saf

      Why? They already have Sunday sales.

      • Anonymous

        Depends on the county in Maryland.

  • I like that Sunday sales start on a Wednesday.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, applications for Sunday sales start on Wednesday…

  • BottomsUp

    Hallelujah! Once all is said and done, I’ll be able to settle into full-blown weekend alcoholism with ease. Weeee!

  • Yeah, why do you have to apply to open on a Sunday?? I can MAYBE see a notification that a store will now be open on Sunday being made to the ABRA, but to have to apply for it seems silly.

    Are they going to refuse some of the applications?

    • Anonymous

      If the application conflicts with the Settlement Agreement, I can see that happening.

  • Baby

    Don’t you know foo? DC gov will do anything to stick it to the business people

    • Foo

      Yeah, don’t you know me?

  • Karl

    Thanks, Costco!

  • anon

    Screw the Sunday sales (if I’m out of liquor on a Sunday, that’s purely poor planning on my part!); the growler regulations are HUG! We’ll be able to get some great beers for home consumption that are not normally bottled. d’Vino’s invested in a small multi-tap system the last time this law “passed” and was withdrawn. Here’s hoping some other retailers get in on it. At a corporate level I know Whole Foods supports in-store growler fills, and the P St store just recently installed taps at their little bar, so it shouldn’t take long for them to start doing this.

  • Why do growlers tend to cost the same as a six pack when they hold less beer and there is less cost for packaging. I don’t care what the answer is because I am going to buy them anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Great, now I get to navigate through the drunks hanging out all day in front of the stores on GA 7 days a week instead of 6, lucky me!!


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