Governor Hochul Announces ‘Take-Out’ Alcoholic Beverage Sale Now Legal Under Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that legislation allowing take-out beverages became law as part of the state’s fiscal year 2023 budget. Take-out beverages were a critical source of revenue for bars and restaurants of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping many small businesses across the state pay their rent or mortgages. This legislation authorizes, for a period of three years, bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages “to take away” for off-premises consumption within appropriate limits.

“New York’s nightlife and hospitality industry is second to none, and by allowing take-out beverage sales, we will continue to support the industry’s post-pandemic recovery,” Governor Hochul said. “Bravo to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins ​​and Chairman Heastie for their help in bringing about this change, which will boost business in the hospitality industry and be a lifeline, helping them come back stronger than ever. before.”

The new policy addresses the concerns of small business owners operating liquor stores by prohibiting the sale of bottles and requiring food orders and sealed containers. Besides, public consumption concerns are addressed by specifying in the law that all takeout containers must comply with municipal open container laws. The passed budget also calls for a comprehensive review of all alcohol and beverage control laws and creates a review commission to report on recommended improvements for businesses and consumers.

This legislation amends the Liquor Control Act to allow restaurants and bars licensed to sell liquor or wine for consumption on premises to also sell such products for consumption off premises. The legislation, which prohibits sales by the bottle, allows the sale of beverages to accompany the order of a substantial food item, as long as the alcoholic beverage is sold in a sealed container and sold during the county’s current closing hours. where the company operates. . In addition, Licensee, or Licensee’s agent or employee making the delivery, shall also be responsible for ensuring that the Consumer has valid identification and for verifying the identity and age of the consumer at the time of delivery.

The state budget for fiscal year 2023 also creates the Liquor Control Law Reform Study Commission, a temporary state commission to analyze and make recommendations to modernize and simplify state alcohol laws and regulations. The Commission will address issues such as, but not limited to:

  • The economic impact of industry on the state;
  • Changes in law and/or SLA resources to expedite the processing of license requests;
  • Underage Drinking Laws; and
  • Industry reform and modernization proposals as voted on by industry stakeholders.

This commission will consist of 21 members, including the Chairman of the State Liquor Authority who will chair the commission, the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance or his designate, the Superintendent of the State Police or his designate, the Director of Division of the Budget or his representative, the Chief Executive Officer of Empire State Development or his representative, and 16 additional members appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. A report from the Commission will be published no later than May 1, 2023.

In addition, the state budget for fiscal year 2023 also includes a number of common-sense changes to modernize the ABC Act, including:

  • Allow liquor stores to be open on Christmas Day, if desired;
  • Allow veterans organizations, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts, to obtain licenses when a police officer serves as an officer of the organization;
  • Allow applicants to provide the required notice to their municipality or community board by email, if the municipality or community board chooses to accept the notice that way; and
  • Allow agricultural manufacturers more flexibility by allowing food trucks or other similar businesses to operate on their premises.

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