This page is intended to collect resources related to government policy on alcohol.
Drinking has always played a role in American culture. During the colonial British reign and the early days of America the consumption and distribution of liquor, then known as ardent spirits or strong water, was strictly regulated. The English common law dictated that the act of being intoxicated while in a public setting was a horrendous crime. The punishment for public intoxication was to be publicly detained in the stocks in the town square for a predetermined period of time. This was a humiliating experience, since a man's reputation was irreparably damaged.
A license granted by the crown was required before alcohol could be sold legally. If the offense of sale of strong water without a license was observed by a tippling establishment, the British legal precedent was for the proprietor to be subjected to not less than 10 and not more than 30 lashes in a public whipping.
The rise of the War of Independence gave birth to individual sovereignty, wherein persons could exercise their own liberty by acts of rebellion such as the excessive use of ardent spirits.
The often-overlooked patriots of the war, tavern-keepers John Jouett Sr. and his wife, Mourning Harris. Jouett held a license to operate the Swan Tavern in Charlottesville's Court Square - "where lived and died Jack Jouett, whose heroic ride saved Mr. Jefferson, the Governor, and the Virginia Assembly from capture by Tarleton June 1781".
The reputation that alcohol had in the early nineteenth century was vastly different from the reputation of alcohol in twenty-first century America. What is termed beer in today's language was once called cider. Cider was viewed as an American household staple. Until the latter portion of the nineteenth century, the commonly held belief was that cider had great nutritional value. Wives of hardworking men frequently ensured that their spouses consumed a “healthy” daily serving of cider. Cider was credited with granting men the stamina to endure the brutal manual labor for which the nineteenth century was notorious. Ardent drink was a social normalcy, just as much as the tipping of hats was a form of polite greeting.
In nineteenth-century America, when the people wanted to invoke a form of change, they created a “society.” Such it was with the original “Temperance Society,” started in Maine in 1820. The recognition of alcohol as a problem in America is evident in the laws passed during the temperance era. An 1826 law was passed that prohibited the sale of ardent drink during elections, since America had a lengthy history of drunken election disruptions.
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- 1776 – America’s independence from the Royal Crown on July 2nd, may have been marred by strong drink. Loose documentation exists that the reason for the delay in signing the official document until July 4th stemmed from some of our Founding Fathers being too intoxicated to execute the signing.
- 1907 – In Virginia, thirteen towns have votes on local option in 1907, eleven go "dry". Virginia was among the southern states still considering the alcohol issue.
- June 4, 1907 – On this Tuesday, the city of Charlottesville voted “dry” by a majority of 40 in a total vote of 850 after the warmest fight in the history of the city. Ministers stood at the polls all day in the rain. Church bells were rung every hour. The ladies held an all day prayer meeting and served lunches near the voting places to everybody. This night, a meeting of praise and thanksgiving was held at the First Methodist Church, and addresses were delivered by leading workers in the day’s struggle. The tone of the meeting was distinctly conservative.
- June 5, 1907 – A big thanksgiving meeting was addressed by a number of citizens.
- July 25, 1907 – Charlottesville Will Be Dry read the headlines. Judge Hutton quashed the complaint by the "Wets" in the contest of local option election, which ends litigation on the subject, and the election, will stand. The saloons will have to close September 4th.
- September 2, 1907 – At 10 o’clock to-night, thirteen years before national prohibition began, 'Charlottesville went "dry" when in obedience to the decree of the people registered by ballot on the 4th of June last.' As a result, thirteen saloons and three other dispensers of liquor went out of the business of selling spirits in Charlottesville. Several will transfer their operation to Orange, Gordonsville and other nearby towns, with a view of supplying the Charlottesville trade without violating the local option law.
- March 12, 1908 – Passage of the Byrd Liquor Law in Virginia which defined liquor as “all mixtures, preparations and liquids which will produce intoxication” and outlawed any malt drink with an alcohol content greater than 2.25%.
- November 24, 1909 – An appeal from an Albemarle County resident is published in the Daily Progress calling upon Charlottesville to keep its saloons closed. "There is no doubt that the majority of our people are glad that their county is so nearly dry, and wish to keep it so, especially to keep the county seat dry." 
- December 7, 1909 – Charlottesville votes to remain “dry”. After more than two years’ experience of “no saloons,” in Charlottesville, local option election resulted in an overwhelming vote to keep “dry” by a majority of 180 out of a total of 762 votes. Two year prior, out of 833 votes cast there was a “dry” majority of only 40. The Anti-Saloon League estimated that only about 600 saloons remain in Virginia.
- January, 16, 1920 – One year after Nebraska tipped the total dry states to 36, the number needed to ratify the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the whole country went "dry".
- November 23, 1930 – A meeting of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform met in Crozet 
- October 25 – Virginia voted to ratify the 21st Amendment; repealing the 18th Amendment and bringing an end to the era of national prohibition of alcohol. In simple terms the Amendment read: "The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited."
- December 5, 1933 – National Prohibition ended on this Tuesday at 5:32 p.m. Eastern, when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. Utah’s action repealed the 18th Amendment by achieving the needed approval of three-fourths of the states. Though contributed with her vote to repeal of National prohibition, Virginia remained dry today with the exception that Virginians may continue to drink beer of 3.2 alcoholic content, which was legalized at a special session of the General Assembly.
- 1935 – Alcoholics Anonymous founded.
- July 1, 2012 – VA Senate Bill 604 goes into effect granting added additional privileges to the brewery license by allowing the retail sales of beer on brewery premises and in public tasting rooms. Brewers formerly were required to obtain a second license to sell beer for off-premises consumption and to obtain a restaurant license in order to sell beer for on-premises consumption. Under the new law, brewers were able to operate more like a Virginia farm winery.
- 2012 – August become Virginia Craft Beer Month.
- December 21, 2015 – City Council passes the Alcohol Beverage Production Zoning Amendment. Areas of the city previously zoned for microbreweries use were re-classified under the new title of "Micro-producer" with the added requirement of generating on-site retail sales.
- December 4, 2021 – Scottsville hosts a Holiday Happening event, its third use of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area license.
- May 4, 2022 – Albemarle Board of Supervisors endorse a DORA for Stonefield for its Friday Night Music on the Lawn series.
- July 1, 2022 – Starting this Friday, Virginians will be allowed to buy cocktails to-go and have alcoholic drinks delivered to them until 2024 after the General Assembly passed a bill that one lawmaker called a “lifeline” to small businesses. The bill creates a third-party license, which will allow the holder to deliver alcoholic beverages to customers. The drinks must be bought from businesses with Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) licenses.
- August 2022 – The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild (VCBG) plans to lobby the state General Assembly for legal approval to form the Virginia Beer Distribution Company (VDBC), a separate entity that will make it easier for craft breweries in the commonwealth to distribute their own products  by allowing all brewery licensees to have limited self-distribution directly to retail licensees. Modeled after the Virginia Wine Distribution Company (VWDC) within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). The 2023 Session will convene at 12 noon on Wednesday, January 11, 2023.
- Web. A Brief History of Ardent Spirit, and the Law in America, Liberty University, March 15, 2018, retrieved December 8, 2022.
- https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hnqf43 A treatise on the Virginia prohibition act, by T. B. Benson (1916)
- Web. Bells Ring Every Hour, The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress., 05 June 1907
- Web. Charlottesville Will Be Dry’, Shenandoah Herald. (Woodstock, Va.) Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress., 26 July 1907, retrieved December 7, 2022.
- Web. THIRTEEN SALOONS OUT OF BUSINESS, The Times Dispatch. (Richmond, Va.) Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress., retrieved December 7, 2022.
- Web. County's Appeal to the City, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, November 24, 1909, retrieved November 24, 2022. Print. November 24, 1909 page 1.
- Web. Charlottesville Votes "Dry", New-York Tribune, December 08, 1909, Page 3, retrieved December 2, 2022.
- Web. Prohibition Reform, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, November 24, 1930, retrieved November 24, 2022. Print. November 24, 1930 page 10.
- Web. NO EXTRA EFFORT TO ENFORCE LAW. Little Liquor Expected To Come In State From Wet Points. PLENTY ON HAND. Sales of Beer of Higher Alcoholic Content Not to Be Permitted., The Daily Progress, Tuesday December 5, 1933, retrieved December 8, 2022.
- Web. SB 604 Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of brewery licensees., 04/04/12 Governor: Approved by Governor-Chapter 619 (effective 7/1/12), retrieved December 6, 2022.
- Web. Ten years ago, 'game-changer' Va. breweries bill set off beer boom, Apr 25, 2022, retrieved December 6, 2022.
- Web. August to be Virginia's first Craft Beer Month, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises
- Web. November 30, 2021: Woolley withdraws as City Manager; Scottsville utilizing DORA for holiday event this Saturday, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, November 30, 2021, retrieved December 4, 2021.
- Web. Albemarle Supervisors to adopt budget, endorse Stonefield DORA, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, May 1, 2022, retrieved 2022-12-06.
- Web. Supervisors support Stonefield as a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, May 10, 2022, retrieved 2022-12-06.
- Web. Albemarle County seeking to explore DORA, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, March 22, 2022, retrieved 2022-12-06.
- Web. Virginia’s cocktail to-go extension law, wric.com (Richmond, VA), Posted: Jun 30, 2022 / 10:48 PM EDT, Updated: Jun 30, 2022 / 10:48 PM EDT, retrieved December 7, 2022.
- Web. Virginia brewers to push for new distribution model: What this means for your favorite craft beer, wric.com, Posted: Aug 20, 2022 / 09:30 AM EDT, Updated: Aug 19, 2022 / 05:49 PM EDT, retrieved December 6, 2022.
- Web. Self-Distribution for Virginia’s Craft Breweries, Aug 8, 2022 | Beer, Brew News, News, retrieved December 7, 2022.