In Virginia, there aren’t any state regulations in place that require a server or bartender to be licensed in order to sell alcohol.
However, it is important to remember that some employers will require bartenders to complete such courses regardless of state or city laws.
This post was updated on September 22, 2023.
Virginia Training Providers and Information:
Although the state does not require those who sell/serve alcoholic beverages to be certified, Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Authority does recommend training through Virginia’s Responsible Sellers & Servers (RSVP) program.
About The RSVP Program:
For starters, Virginia’s Responsible Sellers & Servers (RSVP) program is free of charge and is provided by Virginia’s ABC authority. In the past, the state did provide in-person RSVP courses, but recently, the department switched to offering this course online only. This means that one can take the RSVP course from the convenience of their own home.
The purpose of Virginia’s RSVP program is to educate servers and sellers of alcohol at licensed establishments about the laws, rules, and regulations that govern alcohol sales and consumption in Virginia.
Upon taking the program, bartenders will learn:
- How to prevent intoxicated customers
- How to refuse sales to underage and over-the-limit customers
- How to examine IDs
- And how to document alcohol-related incidents
The program is most useful for aspiring bartenders and servers at an establishment that serves alcohol to consumers on-premises. However, it can also be helpful for clerks, cashiers, wait staff, bussers, and other “front-of-house” employees.
How To Get Started:
To access the RSVP course online, one must first sign up via the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority Learning Center. Through the registration process, you’ll create a login ID and password that you’ll use each time to access the site.
For further instructions, use this helpful guide.
Additional Educational Material:
The ABC has provided state-wide alcohol education and prevention programs
- Follow this link to view all the programs.
- Follow this link to view publications and guides surrounding alcohol awareness, prevention, and education.
Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages In Virginia:
In Virginia, bartenders – anyone who mixes and pours alcoholic beverages – typically need to be 21 or older. However, individuals who are 18 or older can serve and sell beer in establishments exclusively selling beer. Additionally, as of March 4th, 2009, those 18 and up can also serve and sell wine in venues that only offer wine.
For more information, please contact your local City Clerk’s office.