Key Legislators Introduce ABC Reform Proposals

State Senator James Skoufis and Assemblymember Harry Bronson have introduced a number of proposals to change the alcoholic beverage control law, including several designed to address the problems retailers have with the pricing practices of liquor wholesalers. As you know, split case fees and delivery charges result in a typical small establishment paying a “small business surcharge” of more than $8000 for the same product over the course of the year, before accounting for quantity discounts.

These legislators, the Chairmen of the committees in the Senate and Assembly with jurisdiction over the alcoholic beverage control law, have introduced legislation that takes on the wholesalers directly, prohibiting wholesalers from charging any fees except the purchase price. This bill, A2482 – S4351 would prevent wholesalers from adding on exorbitant split case fees and arbitrary delivery charges.

Another bill they have introduced, A3071 – S2853 would allow on-premises licensees to purchase up to twelve (12) bottles of wine and spirits (combined) each week from liquor stores. This proposal will be especially helpful for those situations when licensees run out of product in between regular deliveries. A third bill, A353 – S3460 would allow liquor stores to join together into buying cooperatives to group their small purchases into larger ones to take advantage of quantity discounts. This would be helpful to on-premises licensees as well, so we’ve asked to be included.

The legislative session is just getting underway so it will be some time before we know if these bills will progress. The ABC Law Review Commission is due to issue its report to the legislature by May 1st and while these proposals were not considered as part of their deliberations, the report’s issuance will present an opportunity to discuss needed changes in the law. We have work to do to make sure our concerns are part of that conversation, so let’s get started.

Please contact Senator Skoufis and Assemblymember Bronson to thank them for introducing these bills. The message is pretty simple – the pricing practices of the liquor wholesalers impose a “small business surcharge” on your purchases, but these bills will remove that burden so please do all you can to enact them into law. Encourage them to keep up the fight to protect your business.

You can reach Senator Skofis at or 518.455.3290. You can contact Assemblymember Bronson at or 518.455.4527. Be polite and courteous when you contact them – they’re our friends. Let’s thank them for getting the ball rolling so we can move onto the next step – building support amongst their colleagues for enacting these bills into law.