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Cuomo, Legislators Agree to Amend NY’s 80-Year-Old Alcohol Law

By Staff


cuomo breweryGov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators have recently agreed on new legislation that will modernize New York’s 80-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, state officials said.

According to officials, the agreement will allow alcohol to be sold earlier on Sundays, add provisions to broaden retail sales by producers, and reduce fees for wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries statewide.

“We’ve worked hard to cut red tape, lower costs and roll back burdensome regulations to help New York’s craft beverage industry thrive and create jobs, as well as some of the best beer, wine, cider, and distilled spirits in the world,” Gov. Cuomo stated. “This agreement to overhaul this state’s archaic blue laws will build upon these ongoing efforts by knocking down artificial barriers for restaurants and small businesses, and helping this industry grow even stronger.”

According to Cuomo, the new agreement will amend the ABC Law to include the following:

  • Expanded Sunday Sales: The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law includes provisions strictly prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages at on-premises establishments (restaurants, bars, and taverns) before noon on Sundays. The agreement will expand Sunday sales at restaurants and bars by changing the statewide opening hours from 12 p.m. to 10 am. In addition, the agreement will enable these licensees to apply for a permit, limited to twelve per year, to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises on Sundays between 8 a.m., and the new 10 a.m. opening hour in areas outside New York City.
  • A Reduction in Paperwork for Craft Manufacturers: At the 2012 Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, the governor ended the SLA policy prohibiting multiple manufacturing licenses at the same location. According to Cuomo, the new legislation will combine craft manufacturing licenses into one application to reduce paperwork for small businesses.
  • The Authorized Sale of Wine in Growlers: Current law requires that wine sold at retail for off-premises consumption be kept in their original sealed containers. And, consequently, New York wineries have been prohibited from filling growlers. The new agreement will allow wineries to fill their customer’s growlers, and the agreement will authorize wineries and farm wineries to allow customers to take home partially finished bottles of wine.
  • A Reduction in Fees for Craft Beverage Salespeople: The ABC Law currently requires that any salesperson or solicitor employed by a manufacturer or wholesaler must obtain a solicitor’s permit, in addition to a bond. According to the state, the new legislation will eliminate the fee for a solicitor’s permit for craft manufacturers, and remove the bond requirement for all manufacturers.
  • Reduced Fees for Small Wholesalers: Under current law, small wholesalers must pay the same amount for their licenses as their larger counterparts, which ranges from $1,460 for a one-year beer license, to $27,280 for a three-year liquor wholesale license. The new agreement will amend the ABC Law to create a low-cost “importer’s license” that will be available to wholesalers that sell only to other wholesalers.
  • Authorized Gift Wrapping: The agreement will allow liquor stores to sell gift wrapping and gift bags to their customers.

New York currently has nearly 900 craft beverage producers, including 310 farm wineries, 145 microbreweries, and 90 farm distilleries. According to officials, the state is also home to 120 farm breweries and 21 farm cideries.

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