Highly Allocated Items
Alcohol Beverage Services Institutes New Policy for Highly Allocated Products, Begins Monthly Releases, Retains Periodic Lotteries

Highly Allocated Products for LICENSEES (click here to access the application)

Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is excited to announce a new Highly Allocated (HAL) product policy. Highly allocated items are comprised of special releases of products, including sought-after bourbons, whiskies, and other small-batch spirits. The highly allocated policy ensures that access to rare products is distributed fairly among retail customers and license holders across the County. While the standard policies will remain in place for items traditionally available by the case, ABS will also make available orders by the bottle for certain highly allocated items.  These will be ordered through wholesale and be processed for pickup through ABS retail stores; orders will not follow the normal delivery process through the warehouse due to orders being taken by the bottle (not by the case).

For these specific items, Licensees are able to request a maximum of one (1) bottle per item, for up to two (2) different items on the 3rd Thursday of every month, beginning on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 9 a.m.  Once your request has been processed, you will receive an email confirming, based on availability, that the items you selected are ready for pick-up.   After that,  you will have 14 days to pick up and purchase your bottles at the ABS Muddy Branch Store located at 866 Muddy Branch Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.  Bottles will be reserved online on a first-come first-served basis for your business.  We will continue to evaluate the demand and popularity of this process.  If we are able to increase the amounts each month licensees can order by the bottle that will be announced through additional communication.

To view the available highly allocated items and to place your order requests, please sign-in with your iStore login and password into the  Highly Allocated Products application.  If you do not have an iStore account and need to create a login and password for access to reserve the highly allocated items, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/abs/istore

*If you choose to purchase additional bottle(s) directly through the ABS retail stores, the normal ABS retail store policy applies.  Retail Store HAL Policy:  Highly allocated products are limited to one bottle each of two different items (totaling two bottles maximum) per customer, per day. On the Second Saturday of every month, highly allocated products (HAL) will be available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis. A list of items and locations will be posted a minimum of 48 hours prior to the release on the ABS Retail web site.  www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ABS/HAL/  . Customers are not able to place any highly allocated product on hold.  Licensees can participate in the Retail Release as well and are permitted to use their licensee number to get wholesale pricing.  Those items must follow the same rules as items being ordered though the warehouse.

ABS will also offer an annual lottery for very rare items.  There will be a lottery for Licensees only.   If a Licensee resides in the State of Maryland, they can also enter the Maryland State Resident Lottery and if they reside in Montgomery County they can enter the Montgomery County Resident Lottery.  As with the highly allocated items, if a license number is used to apply the wholesale discount on these items, all rules that apply to orders of product through the warehouse apply to these items as well.

Highly allocated items are designated by ABS using several factors including but not limited to the market demand, distillery releases, and supplier allotments.  Classification of a highly allocated product may change. When/if this happens, it will be communicated on the Retail highly allocated webpage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ABS/HAL.   

If you have any questions, please contact the ABS Communication Center at 240-777-1900.

Lottery Details 

To more equitably distribute limited-availability products that are in high demand, we have developed a lottery process for our most popular, hard to find spirits products. Details about upcoming lotteries are posted on this page as they become available. Customers and licensees can also sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and follow ABS on Facebook for up-to-date information.

Click here to view more


New program creates more opportunities for retail customers and license holders to purchase sought-after products.

Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) has modified its Highly Allocated (HAL) product 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, December 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. 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. The HAL policy gives everyone a fair chance to purchase these prized releases.

Kathie Durbin, Director of Alcohol Beverage Services

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 is able to 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 soon.

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% of all non-lottery HAL items for license holders to purchase for on-premises consumption. License holders will be notified directly of the process for placing orders. Order requests will be fulfilled on a first-come first-serve basis to be purchased and picked up the ABS Muddy Branch store on a designated date and time. ABS must receive a minimum of 10 bottles of any item for it to be eligible for license holders.

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.

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