February 7, 2024

Alcohol Beverage Services to Expand ‘Highly Allocated Products’ Program to Include Releases on Four Sundays Per Year, Starting Sunday, March 10

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

Beginning Sunday, March 10, retail customers will be able to purchase HAL products released on the second Sundays of March, June, September and December on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Sunday releases will replace the regularly scheduled “second Saturday” releases in the four designated months. ABS will continue to release HAL products on the second Saturday of the remaining months.

“It is great to be in Montgomery County if you enjoy high-end whiskeys or other fine spirits,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “In a constantly changing and sometimes unpredictable market, you can count on ABS to make sure you get a fair shot at a good product without a premium markup. With the addition of Sunday releases, ABS is making the program even more accessible.”

ABS Liquor Wine and Oak Barrel & Vine stores are open noon-5 p.m. on Sundays. The Poolesville retail store is closed on Sundays and will not participate in the HAL program in the four months designated for Sunday releases. There will be no changes to the “third Thursday” program, which allows alcohol license holders to purchase HAL products to serve in their establishments.

Purchases of HAL products are limited to one bottle each of two different items for a maximum of two bottles per customer per day. On the Thursday before the second Saturday or Sunday, ABS posts on its website a list of available HAL products and the stores where they will be sold. 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. “We are pleased to be able to expand the monthly releases to four Sundays per year, thereby creating an even wider range of opportunities for customers and making the program more inclusive.”

ABS will continue to distribute the rarest HAL products through a lottery process. ABS holds a minimum of one lottery each year in which winners have the opportunity to purchase the extremely limited items. Dates for lotteries are based on shipments from distillers and are announced at least two weeks before the opening of the entry period.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 27 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 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 resident services that otherwise would be funded by County tax dollars. Follow ABS on Facebook and Twitter.