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NY liquor law proposal: State may allow bars, restaurants to buy from liquor stores

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  • Staff Report 

New York State’s Senate budget proposal introduces a measure that could significantly reduce operational costs for bars and restaurants by allowing them to purchase up to 12 bottles of alcohol weekly from local liquor stores. This shift aims to alleviate the financial burden of relying solely on two state distributors, a restriction that, according to Brian Butler, owner of the Golden Rail Ale House, can lead to substantial annual fees. The move is championed by State Senator James Skoufis and has been well-received by industry stakeholders, including Scott Wexler of the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association, who highlighted the potential savings of up to $10,000 a year on distributor fees.

The proposal, derived from recommendations by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Commission, is not only expected to benefit bars and restaurants through cost savings but also to boost local liquor stores by expanding their customer base to include local hospitality businesses. This adjustment is seen as a practical approach to supporting both sectors within the community.

Butler expressed enthusiasm for the budget provision, citing potential improvements and expansions within his business that could be funded with the savings from reduced fees. The measure’s adoption could lead to enhanced service and employment opportunities within the hospitality industry, marking a significant step toward more flexible and economically beneficial regulations for New York’s bars and restaurants.