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Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration

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Full-Service Grocery Store


Permits full-service grocery stores meeting specific criteria to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. There are two types of licenses available to full-service grocery stores:

  • Full-Service Grocery Store 25% Class A: Permits a newly constructed grocery store to sell beer, wine, and spirits. Licensees who open and operate a newly constructed grocery store for at least one (1) year in a Ward 5 “qualifying zone”, in the Ward 6 Buzzard Point neighborhood, or in Wards 7 or 8, will become eligible to apply to open a store of the same type elsewhere in DC.
  • Full-Service Grocery Store Class B: Permits the sale of beer and wine.


The following criteria must be met in order to apply for a license as a full-service grocery store.

1. A retailer must be licensed as a grocery store and sell at least six of the following categories:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh and uncooked meats, poultry and seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Canned foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Dry groceries and baked goods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

2. Dedicate a certain amount of square footage—or selling area—to the sale of the food products listed above, including a minimum of either:

  • 50 percent of the store’s total square footage
  • 6,000 square feet

3. Dedicate at least 5 percent of the selling area to each food category. For the square footage to be considered part of the selling area, it must be open to the public and may not include storage, preparation areas or restrooms.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.

Board Orders and Settlement Agreement terms apply and may affect eligibility.

To Apply

Licensees seeking to modify their business operations, including adding an endorsement or a change of hours, trade name, or ownership, must submit the appropriate application(s). See Applications and Forms.

Valid Period and Fees

Licenses of the same class and type expire on the same day regardless of issuance date. Licenses may be valid for up to three (3) years based on the relevant license cycle.

See Fee and Renewal Schedule for details.

Of Note

Retailers can obtain a Tasting Permit to provide customers with a tasting of alcoholic products on the licensed premises.

A full-service grocery store can also apply for an on premise restaurant or tavern license to sell and serve alcohol on premises in a café or restaurant setting. On-premises licenses within a full-service grocery store are eligible to apply for additional on-premises Endorsements.