The New York State Liquor Authority recently announced significant changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. in the Empire State. Governor Kathy Hochul has been working on modernizing the state’s antiquated ABC laws.

In the FY2023 Budget, Governor Hochul sought changes to modernize and simplify the state’s 90-year-old ABC Law in the 2023 budget, resulting in 18 recommendations to be considered for future legislative changes by the New York State Legislature.

In October 2023, Governor Hochul signed two recommendations into law, including Legislation S.5731/A.6941 which allows for the sale of beer, mead, braggot, and cider, seven days a week, along with Legislation S.2854/A.7305 which allows liquor and wine stores to have extended Sunday hours to be allowed to be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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More are included in this year’s Enacted Budget including a five-year extension for the current 'Alcohol-To-Go' provision to continue through 2030, beginning in 2025. This allows bars and restaurants in New York State to sell alcoholic beverages "to-go" for off-premises consumption under appropriate limitations, according to the New York State Liquor Authority.

According to the announcement, other business and guest-friendly measures include:

  • Allowing Liquor Beverage Sales in Movie Theaters – The Budget allows for the service of spirits, in addition to beer and wine, at movie theaters that do not meet the definition of restaurants, which required a full kitchen with meals served to guests seated at tables.  Previously, movie theaters not operating as restaurants were limited to beer and wine only.
  • Makes Outdoor Dining Permanent – The budget makes permanent the service of alcohol on contiguous and non-contiguous municipal space, with the authorization of the municipality and the SLA, in addition to addressing service across bike lanes, thereby eliminating statutory ambiguity. This highly successful pandemic-era policy provision was set to expire on July 5, 2025.

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