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    Experiences involving alcohol in the District of Columbia

    These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.

    Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.

    Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*

    I plan to include alcohol during my experience, is there anything I should be thinking about?

    Yes. If you plan to include alcohol during your experience, we encourage you to please keep your safety, and that of your guests, front of mind.

    Safe experiences do not involve providing alcohol to a guest:

    • Who is under 21
    • Who will be driving or operating any type of vehicle
    • Who looks or acts inebriated
    • Who has informed you that they are ill, have a drinking problem, or do not want to participate
    • Until after any portion of an experience involving physical activity (like yoga, swimming, hiking, biking) or activities that involve operating machinery is complete

    In addition, if you are hosting an experience with alcohol in a public venue or outdoor space, be aware that public consumption of any alcoholic beverages on unlicensed premises is illegal in the District of Columbia.

    Do I need a license if I serve alcohol to my guests at my home, at a private venue, or outdoors?

    To sell alcohol to your guests, you need a license under the DC Alcoholic Beverage Law and Regulations or you need to hire a licensed caterer. Licenses are not generally available to sell alcohol at a private residence. Any time alcohol has been provided in exchange for something of value, there has been a sale. Thus, selling alcohol includes situations where:

    • You sell alcohol to your guest directly (e.g. charging a guest for a glass of wine)
    • You sell alcohol to your guest indirectly (e.g. charging for wine in your experience price)

    What about serving complimentary alcohol?

    The DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration does not prohibit alcohol served at private, invitation-only events in private residences where there is no direct or indirect charge for that alcohol. In fact, the gratuitous provision of free alcohol is specifically exempted from the definition of sale under the DC Alcoholic Beverage Law.

    Additionally, the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration expressly allows free alcohol to be served at the host’s own premises without a license, so long as the host does not rent out the premises or provide entertainment (in the form of a live performance), food or nonalcoholic beverages for compensation. Thus, if you are not also renting space or lodging, offering live performances, or selling food and beverages of any kind, your service of truly complimentary alcohol should not conflict with applicable law.

    However, keep in mind that any direct or indirect charge for alcohol without a license or permit may be a violation of DC law. For example, an obvious indirect charge for alcohol—charging one price for a meal without alcohol while charging a higher price for a meal with alcohol—could be considered a prohibited sale.

    Generally speaking, this is a serving alcohol is a tricky area and we encourage you to check with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting and following state and local laws.

    What if my experience takes place at a business with a liquor license, like a bar or restaurant?

    You would be unlikely to run afoul of regulations if you take your guests to your favorite local bars or restaurants that are licensed under by the appropriate local authority and the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

    What if my experience is BYO and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?

    Hosting a BYO experience likely does not require a license under the DC Alcoholic Beverage Law and Regulations.

    We encourage you to check with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting and following your local laws.

    I brew my own beer or cider. What do I need to keep in mind?

    The DC Alcoholic Beverage Law permits adults to produce small amounts of beer for personal use and not for sale. Therefore, you likely do not need a liquor license to teach guests how to brew their own beer. However, you may not sell guests any of your home-brewed beer. If you want to teach a homebrew lesson in a private home and you simply demonstrate technique without your guests drinking your homebrew, it should be okay to do so without a permit.

    We encourage you to check with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting and following your local laws.

    * Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).