Sangria Now Legal in Virginia but Not Kirs, Kir Royales or Beer Cocktails

Most Spanish cuisine restaurants serve sangria as do an increasing number of Mexican, Latin American and pizza restaurants. But it hasn't been legal in Virginia because of a law dating back 75 years to Repeal of Prohibition. A restaurateur in Virginia found out the hard way when he was charged with the crime of making sangria for his customers. Violation of the prohibition carries a hefty fine and up to a year imprisonment.

The public reaction to the law led the Virginia General Assembly to legalize sangria. However, the state still retains the prohibition against selling kirs, kir royales, beer cocktails and any other drink in which spirits are mixed with either beer or wine.

Prohibition-era thinking dies hard. Perhaps in 75 more years it will become legal in Virginia to make and sell those drinks.


  • Jim Raper. Sangria: It's refreshing, now it's legal, Hampton Roads Pilot, April 23, 2008;
  • Anita Kumar. Virginia's sangria ban at issue in 2 hearings. Washington Post, B08, January 24, 2008;
  • Mixed-up law: What we don't need: A ban on sangria. Daily Press (Newport News, VA), February 5, 2008;
  • Andrea Stone. Frustration over liquor laws brewing, USAToday, January 26, 2008;
  • Natalie MacLean. Prohibition: The Sangria Sequel in Virginia., January 31, 2008.

Filed Under: Legal