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Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions are divided into the following categories:


License FAQs
  1. What are the minimum requirements for eligibility to hold a license?
  2. How can I get an application for an ABC license or permit, and where do I file my application when completed?
  3. Do I need to consult a professional to help me complete the application?
  4. What are the permitted hours of operation for any given licensee?
  5. What is the Notification to the Clerk/Community Board?
  6. What is the Notification of Publication?
  7. When filing my application, am I required to submit the entire fee?
  8. Can I qualify for a temporary permit while I wait for my permanent license application to be processed?
  9. Are there any restrictions on the location of my premises?
  10. In what instances will criminal convictions or administrative actions by the SLA disqualify my application?

What are the minimum requirements for eligibility to hold a license? Applicants must be US citizens or have permanent resident alien status. In some cases, citizens of countries with reciprocal trade agreements may apply.

Applicants must be 21 or older.

Applicants must not be convicted felons (unless they have a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities).

Applicants cannot be a police officer with arresting powers.

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How can I get an application for an ABC license or permit, and where do I file my application when completed? Some applications can be downloaded via this web site (Forms Download) or you may contact us at (518) 474-3114 to request an application by mail. Applications are to be mailed to New York State Liquor Authority, Church Street Station, P O Box 3817, New York, NY 10008-3817.

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Do I need to consult a professional to help me complete the application? The retail application has been simplified and is accompanied by detailed instructions to assist the applicant. However, applicants are always free to obtain professional consultation.

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What are the permitted hours of operation for any given licensee? The hours of operation are regulated by county where the business is located, except for New York City which is regulated by statewide law (County Closing Hours Provisions and Chart).

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What is the Notification to the Clerk/Community Board? All on premises license applicants must notify the community board or municipality of their intent to file an application. There is a standardized form that must be submitted to the community board or municipality provided in the application.

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What is the Notification of Publication? All applicants for licenses for on premises consumption must publish a notice in a newspaper designated by the County Clerk, once a week for two successive weeks. If the proposed premises are located in the counties of New York, Kings, Queens or Bronx, the notice must be published in one daily and one weekly newspaper in the county where the premises are located. If the proposed premises are located in any other county, the notice shall be published in a daily OR weekly newspaper in the county where the premises are located. See the application for details as to the required wording of the publication.

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When filing my application, am I required to submit the entire fee? Yes. Installment options are no longer available as of August 1, 2002.

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Can I qualify for a temporary permit while I wait for my permanent license application to be processed? If the premises are location in a city with a population OVER one million, the following conditions must be satisfied in order to qualify for a Temporary Retail Permit:

  • The premises must have been open and operating with an active license at least 30 days prior to filing the application for the permit.
  • The permit and fee must be filed simultaneously with the Retail License Application (fees are listed on the application).

If the premises are located in city with a population of UNDER one million the following conditions must be satisfied in order to qualify for a Temporary Retail Permit:

  • The permit and fee must be filed simultaneously with the Retail License Application (fees are listed on the application).

All applicants should contact the Authority to find out if there are any disqualifications against the location prior to filing. Once the application for the Temporary Retail Permit is filed, the Authority will review the licensing history of the location and all principals as well as fingerprint results for each principal and determine if a temporary application could be approved.

Please note that the fee for the Temporary Retail Permit is NON REFUNDABLE.

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Are there any restrictions on the location of my premises? Applicants for a liquor store license, wine store license and on-premises license cannot be within 200 feet of a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship.

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In what instances will criminal convictions or administrative actions by the SLA disqualify my application? Individuals not eligible for a license include:

  • a person convicted of a felony in NYS, including felony DWI.
  • a person convicted of a crime in another state or federal jurisdiction which would translate to a felony conviction if committed in NYS.
  • a person convicted of misdemeanors under sections 230.20 or 230.40 of the NYS Penal Law or 1146 of the former NYS Penal Law.
  • a revoked license will disqualify the licensee for a period of two years; if the revoked licensee was a corporation any officer or director may also be disqualified.

Note: If an executive pardon or a certificate of relief from disabilities is obtained, the convictions are no longer disqualifying in and of themselves, although all convictions may be considered as part of the total merit of the application.

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Permit FAQs
  1. If I currently hold a license, can I qualify for a permit to serve alcoholic beverages at an event located off my licensed premises?
  2. If I do not have a license, can I get a permit to serve alcoholic beverages at a function or event?
  3. When I receive a Temporary Beer & Wine Permit, where am I allowed to purchase the beer and wine?
  4. If I am a club licensee, when can I serve alcoholic beverages to a person other than members and their accompanying guests?
  5. Is a permit required to transport alcoholic beverages through New York State?
  6. Can I have a Wine Auction?

If I currently hold a license, can I qualify for a permit to serve alcoholic beverages at an event located off my licensed premises? You may apply for a Catering Permit. This permit authorizes an on-premises licensee (other license categories do not apply) to furnish alcoholic beverages allowed by their license at events located off the licensed premises. The fee for the permits is $48 per bar/day. Please refer to the Special Event Permit Application and Instructions (Link to Online Permit Applications Page).

Note: The Catering Permit is also available to a Club licensee with some additional restrictions.

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If I do not have a license, can I get a permit to serve alcoholic beverages at a function or event? You have two options for getting a permit:

  • Option 1: You can apply for a Temporary Beer & Wine Permit (aka: TPA); however, you cannot serve liquor under the restrictions of this permit. The fee for a TPA is $36 per bar/day.
  • Option 2: You can hire a licensed caterer to provide the food and alcohol at the event.

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When I receive a Temporary Beer & Wine Permit, where am I allowed to purchase the beer and wine? Beer and wine must be purchased from a licensed brewer, winery, or wholesaler. Purchasing the beer from a grocery store and the wine from a liquor store is prohibited.

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If I am a club licensee, when can I serve alcoholic beverages to a person other than members and their accompanying guests? This is allowed when the Club applies for a Caterer's Permit authorizing them to hold a particular function, occasion or event. A caterer's permit is not required when the function is hosted by and funds are provided by a club member.

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Is a permit required to transport alcoholic beverages through New York State? For pick-ups and deliveries of alcoholic beverages within NYS, an individual trucking permit is required for each truck in use, or if 100 or more trucks are involved, a Fleet blanket permit is available.

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Can I have a Wine Auction? Yes, provided you are a bona-fide charitable, religious, educational, or civic group, auctioning donated alcohol for fundraising purposes. You must apply for a Charitable Permit to auction no more than 80 cases of wine, in sealed containers.

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Wholesale FAQs
  1. What basic requirements are necessary to be a wholesaler in New York State?
  2. How much does a wholesale license cost?
  3. Why must alcoholic beverages be brand label registered in New York State?
  4. Why must I file price schedules for liquor or wine?
  5. What is a "C" license?
  6. What is the difference between a winery and a farm winery license?

What basic requirements are necessary to be a wholesaler in New York State? The licensee must have an office in New York State:

  • The office must be physically separated from other premises.
  • No other business may be conducted on the licensed premises.
  • There must be an employee present during regular business hours.
  • Books and records must be kept on the licensed premises and available for inspection during regular business hours.

The licensee must be a U.S. citizen or have a Green Card.

Warehouse can be located anywhere; however if it is located in the same building as the licensed premises, it must have a separate entrance.

If the licensee wishes to import alcoholic beverages from another country, a Federal Importer's Permit is required which can be obtained from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

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How much does a wholesale license cost?

License Type License Fee Surety Bond
Wine - 1 Year
* Wine only
$1,520.00 $10,000.00
Liquor - 3 Year
* Includes wine and liquor
$27,280.00 $20,000.00
Beer - 1 Year $1,500.00 $10,000.00

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Why must alcoholic beverages be brand label registered in New York State? The New York State Alcohol Beverage Control Law specifies that no manufacturer or wholesaler shall sell to any retailer nor shall any retailer purchase any alcoholic beverages unless these beverages are labeled in accordance with the Authority's Rules and Federal Regulations and unless such label shall be registered with and approved by the State Liquor Authority. Effective January 1, 1994, wine does not need to be brand label registered if the wine has received label approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).

On SLA forms provided for this purpose, an application for registration of a brand trade name label may be filed by any one of the following:

  1. the owner of the brand or trade name if such owner is licensed by the Authority
  2. a wholesaler selling such brand who is appointed as exclusive brand agent, in writing, by the owner of the brand or trade name for the purpose of filing such application, if the owner or brand or trade name is not licensed by the Authority
  3. any wholesaler, with the approval of the Authority, in the event that the owner of the brand or trade name does not file or is unable to file such application or designate an agent for such purposes
  4. a retailer when the brand or trade name is owned and sold exclusively by the retailer.

Additional Information:

  • ON WINE PRODUCTS:
    Wine coolers, wine products and low alcohol wines will still be required to have brand labels registered in New York State. In addition, a sample of wine products/low alcohol or wines must be sent to the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets for analysis.
  • ON CIDER:
    Cider (containing more than 3.2% but not more than 7% alcohol) must be brand label registered.
  • ON BEER TAP REGISTRATION:
    A brewer who also holds an on-premises license for a restaurant on or adjacent to the brewery premises, and sells a particular beer brewed on the premises exclusively through a vat to tap system, is not required to register the brand label with the State Liquor Authority, but is required to register the tap out of which the beer is dispensed.
  • FEES:
    Each application shall be accompanied by a copy of the label and by a certified check, bank officer's check, draft or money order in the following amounts:

    License Type License Fee
    Liquor $250.00
    Beer $150.00
    Wine / Wine Products $50.00
    Cider No Fee
    Beer Tap Registration $25.00 per tap

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Why must I file price schedules for liquor or wine? Section 101-b.3(a) of the ABC Law prohibits the sale or purchase by a licensee of any brand of liquor or wine unless a price schedule is filed with the State Liquor Authority and is then in effect.

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What is a "C" license? A "C" License is a wholesale beer license with privilege to sell to the consumer. (This license has not been issued since 1960 - interested persons must find one to buy.)

"C" licenses:

  1. can sell beer wholesale and retail.
  2. can move the license anywhere they want to in the state after they buy the license.
  3. cannot sell groceries, pure fruit juice drinks (can sell carbonated juice drinks), milk or milk products or any paper products, no newspapers.
  4. can sell lottery tickets, tobacco, snack foods & soda.

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What is the difference between a winery and a farm winery license?

License Type License Fee Surety Bond
Farm Winery - 1 Year License $175.00 $1,000.00
Winery - 1 Year License $1,075.00 $10,000.00

Both Wineries and Farm Wineries may sell wholesale and retail.

FARM WINERY PRIVILEGES:

  • limited by the law to a maximum production of 150,000 finished gallons of wine in a single year.
  • prohibited from manufacturing and selling any wine not produced from 100% grapes or other fruits or agricultural products grown or produced in New York State.
  • authorized to sell its wines to any Winery or Farm Winery and to licensed wholesalers or retailers and to deliver such wines to persons outside the state pursuant to the laws of the place of such sale and delivery.

WINERY PRIVILEGES:

  • manufacture wine from crushed grapes or grape concentrate.
  • Blend wine.
  • Bottle wine received in bulk from its parent winery located outside New York State.
  • Sell wine to wholesaler or retailer in sealed containers of not more than 15 gallons each.
  • Sell wines in excess of 15 gallons to food, wine, vinegar and pharmaceutical manufacturers, provided a non-beverage manufacturer permit is first obtained from the Authority.
  • Manufacture wine from honey.

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Compliance FAQs
  1. How old must a person be to serve alcoholic beverages as a bartender or a waitress/waiter, etc.?
  2. How old must a person be to work as a cashier in a grocery store?
  3. What must I do to conduct a teen night in my premises?
  4. What is acceptable proof of age to purchase alcohol in New York State?
  5. Can a restaurant deliver beer with a food order?
  6. If I have a felony conviction, can I work in a licensed premises?
  7. Can a liquor store or grocery store take returns of unwanted purchases?
  8. Does a licensed premises have to take back empty bottle returns if they were not purchased from that premises?
  9. What can I do about a noisy or rowdy bar?
  10. Can a customer bring in his or her own liquor/wine/beer into a restaurant or bar?
  11. How old do you have to be to purchase non-alcoholic beverages?
  12. What are the provisions of Section 117A of the ABC law?
  13. Are football pools, dice games, sign up sheets illegal?
  14. Does the authority have tips or training for bartenders?
  15. Can a package store licensee ship wine: (1) Out of State, (2) In NYS, (3) Over the Internet?

How old must a person be to serve alcoholic beverages as a bartender or a waitress/waiter, etc.? A person must be at least 18 years of age to be employed in a retail premises "as a hostess, waitress, waiter or any other capacity where the duties of such person require or permit such person to sell, dispense or handle alcoholic beverages." (Section 100.2-a - ABC Law)

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How old must a person be to work as a cashier in a grocery store? Grocery store beer licensees may employ a person under 18 as a cashier "to record and receive payment for beer and wine product sales when in the presence of and under direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or over." (Section 100.2-a(1)&(2) - ABC Law)

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What must I do to conduct a teen night in my premises? At least 10 days prior to the event, you must notify the State Liquor Authority, in writing, advising us of the exact dates.

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What is acceptable proof of age to purchase alcohol in New York State? A valid driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, the Federal Government, a State Government, Commonwealth, Possession or Territory of the United States or a Provincial Government of Canada; or a valid U.S. passport, or valid passport of any other country; or a valid military ID from the U.S. (Section 65-b.2(b) - ABC Law)

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Can a restaurant deliver beer with a food order?Yes. The Authority has ruled that on-premises licensees may deliver beer in containers along with a food order provided that order is received in the licensed premises. An order received by the licensee in the licensed premises over the telephone (or by fax) complies with this ruling. The Authority's ruling applies to beer only. The sale or delivery of wine or liquor for off-premises consumption by an on-premises licensee, other than a hotel off-premises (HOP) permittee, is a violation of the law. (SLA ruling 7/8/69)

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If I have a felony conviction, can I work in a licensed premises?On-premises retail licenses (taverns, restaurants, night clubs, etc.) are prohibited from knowingly employing a person convicted of a New York State translated felony or other specified offenses.

No person holding any license, other than a license to sell an alcoholic beverage for retail off-premises consumption, shall knowingly employ in connection with his business, any person who has been convicted of a felony, or any of the following offense listed in Section 102.2 of the ABC Law, who has not subsequent to such conviction received an executive pardon therefore removing any civil disabilities incurred thereby, a certificate of good conduct or other relief from disabilities provided by law, or the written approval of the State Liquor Authority permitting such employment. (See Section 102.2 - ABC Law)

There are no prohibitions against a person convicted of a New York State translated felony, or certain specified offenses to be employed on any retail premises licensed for off-premises consumption (i.e. grocery stores, drug stores, or liquor stores).

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Can a liquor store or grocery store take returns of unwanted purchases? Liquor stores, grocery stores and other retailers licensed to sell liquor, wine, beer and wine products for off premises consumption may, at their discretion, exchange unopened returns from their customers.

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Does a licensed premises have to take back empty bottle returns if they were not purchased from that premises? Yes, the "dealer" - the retailer - defined by the statute as a person who engages in the sale of beverage containers to a consumer for off-premises consumption in the state, must: accept at his place of business and from any redeemer, any empty beverage containers of the type sold by the dealer, regardless of whether or not the filled beverage container was originally sold by the dealer, and pay the redeemer the refund value of each such beverage container.

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What can I do about a noisy or rowdy bar?Contact the police department having jurisdiction at the time the disturbance is occurring. You can also contact the New York State Liquor Authority by way of telephone, written complaint, e-mail, or personal visit to Zone Office (Albany, Buffalo, New York). Complainant should make a written record of date, time and nature of disorder documenting specific problems with the licensed premises. (See Sections 106.6, 118 - ABC Law and Rule 36.1(q) of the Rules of the State Liquor Authority [9 NYCRR 53.1(q)])

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Can a customer bring in his or her own liquor/wine/beer into a licensed restaurant or bar?Yes, with the approval of the licensee and as long as the alcohol product is covered under the license in effect and the patron removes the unconsumed alcoholic beverage upon departing the licensed premises.

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How old do you have to be to purchase non-alcoholic beverages?Non-alcoholic beverages do not come within the jurisdiction of the State Liquor Authority, except with respect to the so-called non-alcoholic wines which contain tiny percentages of alcohol. Such wines have been classified by the State Liquor Authority as standard wines that can only be sold in New York State for off-premises consumption by package store licensees. Non-alcoholic products may not be sold in this state by package stores. They may be sold by grocery and delicatessen stores, whether licensed or not. They may be served by on-premises licensees for consumption on the premises, and used by these licensees in the preparation of cocktails and other alcoholic drinks.

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What are the provisions of Section 117-a of the ABC law? Unlimited Drink Offerings Prohibited.

No licensee, acting individually or in conjunction with one or more licensees shall:

  • offer, sell, serve or deliver to any person or persons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.
  • allow a person, agent, party organizer, or promoter, as such terms shall be defined by the Authority in rule and regulation to offer, sell, serve, or deliver to any person or persons unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.
  • advertise, promote, or charge a price for drinks that in the judgement of the Authority creates an offering of alcoholic beverages in violation of the purposes and intent of this section, or which in the judgement of the Authority is an attempt to circumvent the intent, and purposes of this section, such as, but not limited to, offerings of free drinks, or multiple drinks for free or for the price of a single drink, or for a low initial price followed by a price increment per hour or other period of time, or for such a minor amount that in the judgement of the Authority the pricing would constitute an attempt to circumvent the intent and purposes of this section.
  • with respect to an individual licensee, this section shall not apply to private functions not opened to the public, such as weddings, banquets, or receptions, or other similar functions, or to a package of food and beverages where the service of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the event or function.

The State Liquor Authority has determined that 2 for 1, half price and Happy Hour specials whereby the price of a drink is not lower than one-half of the premise's normal or regular price for the same drink does not constitute an attempt to circumvent, the intent and purpose of this statute.

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Are football pools, dice games, sign up sheets illegal? Yes, Sections 106.6 and 105.22 of the ABC Law prohibit gambling in businesses licensed for consumption on and off the premises. This includes social, casual and professional gambling. Exceptions are the sale of lottery tickets when licensed by the Division of the Lottery and bingo or games of chance when authorized by the State Racing and Wagering Board.

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Does the authority have tips or training for bartenders? Yes. A recent law enacted by Governor Pataki and the State Legislature provides a voluntary Alcohol Awareness Training Program for people licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in New York State and their employees. The Authority has established requirements for the curriculum of the program and approves schools and other entities to teach the program (Training Information).

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Can a package store licensee ship wine: (1) Out of State, (2) In NYS, (3) Over the Internet? A package store may only deliver liquor and wine they sell:

  • to homes and offices not to be resold by the purchaser.
  • by messenger afoot.
  • by trucking and delivery companies who hold a trucking permit issued by the Authority.
  • in a vehicle owned and operated, or hired and operated by the package store licensee.

(See Sections 94, 105.8, 105.9 and 116 - ABC Law, and Rule 10 of the Rules of the State Liquor Authority [9 NYCRR 67])

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FOIL FAQs
  1. How do I file a request for information which is not offered on the Internet?
  2. What happens to my request when you receive it?
  3. How soon can I expect an answer?
  4. What items are exempt from disclosure?
  5. May I see the documents before I decide if I want copies?
  6. What is the fee?
  7. What if I want to appeal a determination that some or all of the records that I have requested are being withheld?

How do I file a request for information which is not offered on the Internet? Much information may be downloaded directly from this Website. If you do not find the information you seek here, please write a letter requesting the information to:

Michael R. Smith

80 S. Swan Street Suite 900
Albany New York 12210
(518) 474-3114

E-MAIL: FOIL@sla.ny.gov

Please be as specific as possible when requesting records, so that we may easily identify which records maintained by the Authority are responsive to your request.

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What happens to my request when you receive it? Your request is entered into our tracking system and then routed to the Zone where the records are stored. The Zone Records Access Officer will identify and locate the records you have requested. We review them for responsiveness to your request and insure that release of the records complies with the Freedom of Information Law. The materials are photocopied and sections that are determined to be non-releasable are blacked out. Sometimes an answer to a request contains hundreds or thousands of pages, and may take some time to assemble.

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How soon can I expect an answer?The zone office will mail you an acknowledgment within five business days of receipt of your request. Generally, most requests for records are filled within 30 to 60 days.

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What items are exempt from disclosure? Article 6 of the Public Officers Law, Section 87, includes nine conditions for denial of access. Some of the most common requests received by the State Liquor Authority that involve exemption from disclosure are:

  • Anything that may result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. For example: home telephone numbers, home addresses, e-mail addresses, and Social Security numbers;
  • Trade secrets - records that if released could cause harm to the competitive position of a business or enterprise;
  • Information gathered for law enforcement purposes which, if disclosed, could interfere with due process;
  • Lists of names and addresses which would be used for commercial or fund-raising activities.

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May I see the documents before I decide if I want copies? Yes. When you send your request to us, you may specify if you would like to inspect the documents. We will contact you to schedule an appointment to come to our offices and view the materials. Arrangements will be made if you desire photocopies of documents. You will be charged for any copies of documents that had portions blacked out and re-photocopied before your review, even if you elect not to take them.

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What is the fee? You will be charged 25 cents per page for photocopying. Payment can be made with a check, postal or money order. Please make payable to New York State Liquor Authority and record the tracking number in the memo section of your check. 

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What if I want to appeal a determination that some or all of the records that I have requested are being withheld? Where the Department does not timely respond to a FOIL request, or if a request for access to records has been denied in whole or in part, an appeal may be filed with the Authority’s appeals officer.

An appeal should be sent in writing to the following address:

Thomas Donohue, Appeals Officer

State Liquor Authority
80 S. Swan Street, Suite 900
Albany, NY 12210-8002

Once an appeal is received, the Authority will mail an acknowledgment of its receipt to the individual filing the appeal. In most cases, a administrative law judge ("ALJ") is assigned to the appeal. After conducting an independent review of the records withheld, the ALJ will then recommend to the appeals officer whether to release any of the withheld records.

Following review of the ALJ's recommendation, the appeals officer will issue a final determination. In certain cases, the appeals officer (rather than an ALJ) will conduct the independent review. If the determination is to release records, the individual filing the appeal will be notified of the cost of reproducing the records and, alternatively that he or she may review the records at the Authority' office.

The appeals officer's FOIL appeal determination is a final agency action. Pursuant to Public Officers Law § 89(4)(b), the determination may be challenged in state supreme court by the filing of a Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") Article 78 petition.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at:

State Liquor Authority
80 S. Swan Street, Suite 900
Albany, NY 12210-8002

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New York State Liquor Authority • 80 S. Swan Street • 9th Floor • Albany, New York • 12210-8002