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Liquor Authority wants to tackle license backlog: How will it get done?

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has announced the formation of a special committee to address a significant backlog in processing liquor license applications. Currently, the SLA is dealing with approximately 6,000 pending items, including applications for new licenses, corporate changes, and special permits.


The backlog has particularly impacted new bars and restaurants, causing delays of six to nine months for new license applications and six to eight weeks for temporary licenses.

These delays have placed a financial strain on many businesses, especially those reliant on alcohol sales for revenue. Pignataro emphasized the difficulty this situation poses for these establishments, which continue to incur regular expenses like rent despite the holdup in obtaining necessary licenses.

To mitigate these delays, the SLA’s newly formed committee, based in Buffalo, is composed of seven senior staff members with the authority to approve straightforward applications that do not involve opposition or complex issues.

The committee convened this week and is planned to operate for six months. This initiative aims to expedite the processing of applications, offering hope to applicants who have faced prolonged waiting periods.