Purchases from Liquor Stores Passes Senate, Stalls in Assembly

Our proposal to allow restaurants and tavern to make limited purchases from liquor stores passed the State Senate 59 -1 as this year’s session came to a close. The bill failed to advance from committee in the Assembly as a result of concerns raised by Empire Merchants, Southern Wine & Spirits, and the New York State Beer Wholesalers’ Association (on behalf of the their members). They continue to claim that this will lead to massive tax avoidance and that it will cause a substantial disruption to the market. They’ve convinced liquor store owners that it will be a compliance nightmare and so the associations representing New York package stores oppose or are neutral on the issue.

We did not get this proposal across the finish line, but we made significant progress towards our goal. We convinced the State Senate to include the proposal as part of their Alcohol Beverage Control package in the state budget and to pass separate legislation to accomplish this outside of the budget. We overcame the opposition from the industry’s biggest players – not something to take lightly. We also gained the support of the State Liquor Authority Chair, Lily Fan. She understands the predicament of small retailers in the marketplace and passionately advocated for the proposal, actively pushing back on the nonsensical claims of the wholesalers.

So we have work to do to educate the Assembly Members and staff to your predicament – and that is what we’re going to do. As your local Member of Assembly is out looking for votes, we’ll be there – along with you I hope – to make them aware of this problem and our solution. Every elected official talks about supporting small business. This is a pretty clear David vs Goliath battle – let’s see where folks stand.