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Regulatory Updates

The Commissioner promulgates periodic revisions to the administrative regulations that support and clarify the provisions of the Delaware Liquor Control Act. Once enacted, OABCC regulations (also known as Commissioner’s Rules) have the force of law.


Craft Breweries: Limited Self-Delivery of Beer

April 1, 2024

UPDATE: The proposed changes below have been fully approved

Section 721 of Title 4 of the Delaware Code permits the Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner to authorize “any brewery to sell and to deliver beer to any person in this State who holds a license to receive and resell beer” provided certain requirements are met. This regulation is promulgated to implement self-delivery of beer by those licensed as brewers. This regulation is consistent with the Commissioner’s authority to regulate time, place, and manner in which beer is sold or dispensed, and provide guidance and regulations for self-delivery of beer.

This Rule permits a Delaware licensed brewery, producing no more than 5,000 barrels of beer a year, to apply for authorization to self-deliver its own beer produced at the licensee’s approved premises to licensed retailers. No more than 1,500 barrels of beer, or its equivalent, may be self-delivered annually by the brewery.

The Rule can be reviewed in full here.


Bottle Club Bartending Revisions

Feb. 1, 2024

UPDATE: The proposed changes below have been fully approved

OABCC has proposed updates to Rule 1008 to permit licensed bottle club owners to choose whether to provide bartender services and serve alcoholic liquors provided for a social gathering by a customer renting the premises that chooses not to use a licensed caterer for the social gathering.

In 2021, the General Assembly amended the bottle club license statute to allow a person renting a premises to customers to hold weddings and other social gatherings to be licensed as a bottle club, so long as adequate food is provided for the gatherings. The current OABCC rules on bottle clubs do not address social gatherings where alcoholic liquors are permissible and prevent bottle club licensees from providing bartender service or serving alcoholic liquors when the customer renting the premises chooses to provide the alcohol, rather than use a Delaware licensed caterer.

The proposed Rule changes can be reviewed here. Written comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through March 4 (formerly Jan. 31; the comment period has been extended.)


License Renewal Revisions

Feb. 1, 2024

UPDATE: The proposed changes below have been fully approved

OABCC has proposed updates to Rules 701 and 702 regarding license renewals to shorten the license renewal notice timeline. The effective dates for renewed licenses will not change. Licensees will receive notice from OABCC when the license renewal is due and licensees will have 30 days in which to pay the fee for renewal.

The rules were originally written when renewal payments were made in person or by mail. The OABCC has moved to an online renewal process, streamlining the renewals, and making it easier for licensees to renew their licenses. The months of advance notice before the deadline to renew is no longer necessary. Further, existing licensees have commented frequently that there is too much time between notice and the payment due date, causing many licensees to miss the deadline to pay the license renewal fees. Due to the increase in administrative costs and time to identify and track late renewal fees, the updates include a late penalty that may be applied to those who do not renew licenses by the deadline.

The proposed Rule changes can be reviewed here. Written comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through March 4 (formerly Jan. 31; the comment period has been extended.)


Nonprofit Gathering License Revisions

Feb. 1 2024

The proposed changes below are out for review and comment

OABCC has proposed updates to clarify requirements for gathering licenses available to nonprofit organizations.

These include that the Internal Revenue Service must recognize the organization as a charitable organization; the organization must report proceeds from alcohol sold at a gathering to the OABCC; and an affiliated licensee is prohibited from receiving proceeds from a gathering where the nonprofit organization includes members of a licensed manufacturer of beer, wine, or spirits.

The proposed Rule changes can be reviewed here. Written comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through March 4 (formerly Jan. 31; the comment period has been extended.)


Service On-Premises May Begin at 8 a.m.

Jan. 11, 2024

Effective immediately, it is permissible for on-premise retail licensees to serve alcoholic liquors for consumption on the premises starting at 8:00 a.m. The prior starting time was 9:00 a.m. The change was codified in House Bill 235, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Carney.

This change does not apply to package stores.

The Commissioner’s Rules will be updated as soon as practicable to reflect this legislative change.

Pursuant to Commissioner’s Rule 503 2.6, an establishment that wishes to revise its hours of operation to incorporate this new change must notify the OABCC. Questions related to this change and requests to revise operating hours should be submitted to oabccquestions@delaware.gov.

The text of this regulatory change is available here.


New Dining/Bar Seating Ratio, Employment Age, Elimination of Work Permit

June 6, 2023

UPDATE: The changes below have been fully approved and implemented

The OABCC recently proposed two important changes to the Commissioner’s Rules that relate to restaurants licensed to serve alcohol.

The first change updates the required ratio of restaurant dining seats to bar seats from 4:1 to 3:1 found in Rule 202. This Rule has not been modified for decades, yet restaurants have frequently requested variances for additional bar seats as part of their floor plans to serve complete meals to customers who prefer a bar seat over a dining table. This update to the requirements of a licensed restaurant’s floor plan will make it easier for restaurants to meet the needs of consumers.  

Please note: Whenever an existing licensed establishment wishes to add bar seating, it must apply to the OABCC to make an alteration to its premises, it must be publicly noticed, and the alteration must be approved prior to adding bar seats. Existing licensed restaurants may not alter their seating ratios from 4:1 to 3:1 without making application to OABCC.

The second Commissioner’s Rule change updates Rules 1201-1202 to align them with recent legislation that:  

  • Removed the requirement that youth employees be issued a work permit from the OABCC;
  • Permits those 14 and older to work in clubs with dining facilities, hotels, and restaurants (provided that they don’t sell or serve alcohol); and
  • Permits taprooms and taverns to employ a person 18 years or older to serve alcoholic liquors to patrons, but not prepare alcoholic beverages.

The proposed Rule changes can be reviewed here, in the most recent monthly volume of the Delaware Register of Regulations. Written comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through July 1. Please consider offering feedback to the proposed changes or contact the Office if you have any questions.