A new D.C. law now allows farmers markets to sell beer, wine, and spirits alongside their heirloom tomatoes and artisanal cheese.
FreshFarm Markets, which operates eight District farmers markets including those in Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter, plans to apply for the permit, which would allow for alcohol tastings and sales of sealed bottles for off-premise consumption. (No, you won’t be able to walk around the market sipping on a full pint of beer.) The organization already sells wine and some beer at its Maryland and Virginia markets.
FreshFarm Chief of Staff Maddy Beckwith says they’re still “digesting” how to best approach the new D.C. rules and the cost of the permit ($300 to sell beer and wine, $500 to sell beer, wine, and spirits). She says the group will likely test pilot the permit at its Dupont market beginning this spring.
But just because they can sell alcohol doesn’t mean FreshFarm Markets will allow just any D.C. distiller or brewer to vend with them. Beckwith says they haven’t finalized any official guidelines, but they’re looking to highlight alcohol producers who source at least some ingredients locally, not just manufacture locally.
In other liquor law news, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration also introduced a new entertainment permit for breweries, distilleries, and wineries. That means D.C. alcohol manufacturing facilities can now potentially host weddings or other events with dancing, a live band, or DJ.
In addition, booze producers can now stay open longer. They were previously limited to operating hours between 1 and 9 p.m.; Now, they can stay open from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
Photo by Darrow Mongtomery