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Historical Overview

Lips that touch Liquor Shall Not Touch OursOn December 5, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Presidential Proclamation 2,065, officially repealing the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that established Prohibition in the United States. Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment, which granted each state the power to regulate the trafficking of alcoholic beverages within its borders. Chapter 180 of the Laws of 1933 provided for the manufacture of malt beverages and wine not exceeding 3.2 percent alcohol content under the guidance of an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

In 1934, New York State enacted Chapter 478, known as the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, creating the State Liquor Authority and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The State Liquor Authority’s first Annual Report noted that Chapter 478 was enacted by the Legislature to provide for “the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of the State.” These principles are the core of the SLA/ABC’s mission to this day. The responsibilities of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control include:

  • Reviewing applications and investigating applicants to determine eligibility;
  • Issuing licenses and permits for the manufacture, wholesale distribution and retail sale of all alcoholic beverages;
  • Regulating trade and credit practices related to the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages at wholesale and retail;
  • Limiting, in the Authority's discretion, the number and type of licenses issued as determined by public convenience and advantage;
  • Inspecting premises where alcoholic beverages are manufactured or sold;
  • Investigating licensees in connection with violations of the ABC Law, and working with local law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with the ABC Law; and
  • Conducting disciplinary proceedings and hearings, and revoking, canceling or suspending for cause any license or permit, and/or imposing monetary penalties where appropriate.


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