December 8, 2021

Alcohol Beverage Services Institutes New Policy for ‘Highly Allocated Products,’ Begins Monthly Releases and Retains Periodic Lotteries Starting Saturday, Dec. 11

Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) has modified its “Highly Allocated Products” (HAL) policy. HAL is comprised of special releases of products, including sought-after bourbons, whiskies and other small-batch spirits. The HAL policy ensures that access to rare products is distributed fairly among retail customers and license holders across the County.

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 11, retail customers will be able to purchase HAL products released on the second Saturday of each month on a first-come, first-served basis. Purchases of HAL products will be limited to one bottle each of two different items for a maximum of two bottles per customer per day. ABS will post on its website a list of available HAL products and the stores where they will be sold.

Customers can view the products 48 hours in advance of their release at To maximize fairness, customers will not be permitted to place a hold on HAL products.

“ABS is dedicated to giving our customers access to the most special and rare products in an equitable way,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “The HAL policy gives everyone a fair chance to purchase these prized releases.”

ABS will continue to distribute the rarest HAL products through a lottery process. ABS will hold a minimum of one lottery each year in which winners will have the opportunity to purchase the extremely limited items. Dates for lotteries will be based on shipments from distillers and will be announced at least two weeks before the opening of the entry period. Lotteries will be open to all Maryland residents 21 years and older.

By offering the lotteries to Maryland residents, rather than only Montgomery County residents, ABS can increase the number allocated products it receives. Depending on product availability, ABS may hold additional lotteries for alcoholic beverages license holders for on-premises consumption at restaurants and specialty venues. Lottery information will be available at

For products that are extremely limited, ABS reserves the right to distribute items through lottery process at its discretion. ABS will reserve a minimum of 10 percent of all non-lottery HAL items for license holders to purchase for on-premises consumption.

HAL items are designated by ABS using several factors, including but not limited to, the market demand, distillery releases and supplier allotments. Classification of a HAL product may change without notice.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement, and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $30 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for residential services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.