FoBoGro petitions to sell single beers

Foggy Bottom Grocery is jockeying for an exemption from the District law that bans the sale of single beers and malt liquors.

The on-campus grocer will seek a go-ahead from ABRA and their local Advisory Neighborhood Commission Wednesday, after submitting an application April 2 to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to sell 20- to 40-ounce beer bottles, owner Kris Hart said. A 2008 D.C. law prohibits the single sale of beer and malt liquor containers of 70 or fewer ounces in Ward 2, among other areas, in order to cut down on littering and public intoxication.

FoBoGro must obtain a letter of support from the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, an advocacy group that works with D.C. agencies on issues ranging from liquor licenses to safety and traffic laws.

A public hearing with FoBoGro and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board – a body within ABRA that manages liquor licenses – is scheduled for April 26, Hart said.

ABRA considers a seller’s history, in addition to the potential community impact of offering an exemption. ABRA director Fred Moosally did not return multiple requests for comment on FoBoGro’s record with the agency.

Commission vice chair Rebecca Coder said she would be surprised if the request leads to controversy, as the neighborhood body voted in 2009 to support exemptions for Riverside Liquors at 2123 E St. and The Market at Columbia Plaza.

“Most people find it to be a convenience,” Coder said, referring to the sale of single beers.

Hart said a main reason he is seeking the exception is because patrons from the State Plaza Hotel on F Street visit the store hoping to purchase single beers and typically do not want to buy an entire six-pack, while cases and six-packs tend to be the main attraction for students.

“We like being able to offer as many options as possible,” Hart said. “Some seniors who just turned 21 will be interested in exploring different options.”

FoBoGro gained ABRA approval last August to sell alcohol seven days a week until midnight, following a D.C. policy change that allowed grocery stores offering only beer and wine to extend their liquor sale hours.

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