Friday, September 9, 2016

NEW YORK'S NEW ALCOHOL LAW

On Wednesday September 7, Governor Cuomo signed legislation amending New York's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law: 
 
"The law ensures that the craft beverage industry in New York continues to thrive by amending the ABC Law to include the following:
  • Expand Sunday Sales: The law expands Sunday sales at restaurants and bars by changing the statewide opening hours from noon to 10 am. In addition, the agreement enables 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.
  • Eliminate Burdensome Paperwork Requirements for Craft Manufacturers: At the 2012 Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, Governor Cuomo ended the State Liquor Authority's policy prohibiting multiple manufacturing licenses at the same location, recognizing the additional burdens this placed, for example, on a small winery that wanted to also make whiskey – including building a separate facility. The law combines craft manufacturing licenses into one application to reduce burdensome paperwork for these small businesses.
  • Authorize the Sale of Wine in Growlers: Previous law required that wine sold at retail for off-premises consumption be kept in their original sealed containers, and consequently, New York wineries were prohibited from filling growlers. This prohibition unduly burdens wineries that can open a container to sell wine for on-premises consumption, or can sell wine for off-premises consumption, but cannot fill a growler to be taken away from the winery. The law enacts a common sense change to allow wineries to fill their customers’ growlers. In addition, the law authorizes wineries and farm wineries to allow customers to take home partially finished bottles of wine.
  • Reduce Fees for Craft Beverage Salespeople: The ABC Law required that any salesperson or solicitor employed by a manufacturer or wholesaler must obtain a solicitor’s permit in addition to a bond. Recognizing the financial hardship imposed by these unnecessary additional fees, the law eliminates the fee for a solicitor’s permit for craft manufacturers and removes the bond requirement for all manufacturers.
  • Reduced Fees for Small Wholesalers: The primary business of most alcohol beverage wholesalers is selling their products to licensed retailers, such as bars, restaurants and liquor stores. However, there are currently a number of small wholesalers in New York that sell limited number of brands they import directly to large wholesalers for distribution to retailers. Under the ABC Law, these small wholesalers were required to pay the same amount for their license as their larger counterparts, with costs ranging from $1,460 for a one year beer license to $27,280 for a three year liquor wholesale license. This financial burden often required these small businesses to make a choice between continuing to hold a New York wholesale license or to relocate their business outside of New York. The law creates a low-cost “importer’s license” that is available to wholesalers who sell only to other wholesalers. These businesses may now obtain an importer’s license at a cost of only $125 a year.
  • Authorize Gift Wrapping: The law allows liquor stores to sell gift wrapping and gift bags to their customers."

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