Our Mission

The Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association, originally formed in 1934, is a grassroots association representing New York State’s on-premise beverage alcohol licensees. Our members operate their businesses in the face of burdensome taxes, fees, laws, and regulations that make operating a small business a challenge in New York State.


Our advocacy program is designed to improve business conditions for our members and to enable them to maintain their contributions to the state’s economy. We make sure that the Governor, State Legislature, state agencies, other representatives and, when necessary, the courts are aware of our concerns on the issues that impact your bottom line. We are actively involved in shaping the decisions that affect your business.

The association’s past achievements include:

  • Adopting the “visibly intoxicated” law, which has provided significant protection to licensees from dram shop (liquor liability) lawsuits;
  • Winning a major victory at the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, overturning a lower court ruling that held a licensee responsible for his employee’s criminal activity;
  • Thwarting proposals to expand local government authority for alcohol beverage control (i.e., licensing, hours of sale, drinking age, etc.);
  • Reducing a proposed 108% increase in on-premise alcohol beverage license fees to 28% – the only license fee increase in more than 20 years; and
  • Obtaining an increase in the “tip credit” employers may take towards the minimum wage for tips received by their employees, saving employers thousands of dollars every year.

We haven’t won all of the battles we’ve been in. Over the years the hospitality industry has been the target of constant attacks. And while not all of the fights have been as high profile as the smoking ban, the minimum wage, the .08% BAC, or the drinking age – these public battles are indicative of the association’s determination to protect our members’ businesses.
We’re not resting on our past successes. We continue to seek to improve business conditions. Our current advocacy program includes:

  • Fighting unfair prosectutions by the State Liquor Authority, state and local health departments, and other regulatory agencies through administrative, legislative, and legal channels;
  • Seeking expansion of the Quick Draw lottery game and pursuing additional lottery opportunities for our members (pull tabs, video instant games, etc.);
  • Calling for a review of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control law with consideration of imposing a moratorium or limit on liquor licenses, addressing problem premises, clarifying licensing criteria, and revising the rules that govern credit between wholesalers and retailers; and
  • Supporting legislative and regulatory efforts to provide cost relief for New York’s small businesses.

You can make a donation to support our efforts by clicking on the button below and making a donation in an amount you wish: