Before the new ABC legislation proposals were signed into law, Virginia had relatively strict guidelines concerning the sale and advertisement of alcoholic beverages. The new legislation will change twelve existing laws to make it easier for alcohol markets to turn a bigger profit. ABC laws are enacted in “alcoholic beverage control” states to give state governments a monopoly over the sales of some categories of alcoholic beverages.
Here are some of the new Virginia laws:
HB 2634 and SB 1110 provided a referendum on the sale of mixed beverages by Virginia ABC stores. These stores and restaurants will now be allowed to sell mixed alcoholic beverages in countries whose qualified voters decide not to petition the local circuit court to prevent the law from being enacted locally.
SB 1727 will prohibit the sale of all nicotine products to adults and young adults under the age of 21, unless an active duty military ID is shown at the time of purchase, in which case the restriction remains cemented at age 18.
HB 1887 requires all Virginia ABC stores to post a sign containing information about human trafficking prevention and assistance.
HB 1960 allows both ABC stores and licensed alcohol distillers located in or out of the Virginia commonwealth to produce and sell low-alcohol beverage coolers. Alcohol must contain at least .5 percent alcohol but no more than 7.5 percent.
SB 1171 allows certain industries to obtain a temporary and local special events license so that alcohol may be sold where alcohol is otherwise not sold — but only during a local “special event.” Residents may loiter with beverages in hand or move around to local businesses. These special events are limited to 12 per year.
SB 1420 allows bespoke establishments to obtain a license allowing them to provide complimentary glasses of wine or beer (up to two) for a visiting member. Fees cannot be charged for these drinks.
HB 1657 allows any multipurpose theater in Bridgewater, Virginia to sell alcoholic beverages to patrons so long as the theater is owned by the government and has a total functioning capacity of over 100 people.
HB 1770 and SB 1668 changes the Sunday hours for opening an ABC establishment from noon to 10 a.m.
HB 2073 and SB 1726 allows retail establishments with ABC licenses to advertises for happy hour events in addition to normal beverage prices.