Recent Changes to Alcoholic Beverage Control Law - August 2013

Governor Cuomo recently signed two bills amending the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. One of these new laws requires applicants to provide additional information on their original and renewal applications. The other law places limits on the ability of the Authority to prosecute contaminated bottle charges against retailers.  

A3869/S3978. This new law amends sections 109 and 110 of the ABC Law to add a new item that must be included in all applications (original and renewals). The applications must now include “a  statement indicating the type of establishment to be operated at the  premises.  Such statement shall indicate the occurrence of topless entertainment and/or exotic dancing whether topless or otherwise, including, but  not limited to, pole dancing and lap dancing, at the establishment.” The new law provides that the Authority cannot waive this new item. So every original application and every renewal application will have to include the required statement.

This law takes effect on September 29, 2013. New forms reflecting the change in the law will be available on the Authority’s website by August 16th. Original or renewal applications received by the Authority on or after September 29, 2013 must use the new forms. Applications received prior to September 29th may use either the old or new forms. 

A7166/S352. This new law amends section paragraph a of subdivision 2 of section 106. The amendment adds the word “intentionally” to the language regarding contaminated bottles. The paragraph, as amended, now reads as follows:

(a) No retail licensee  for  on-premises  consumption... shall keep upon the licensed premises any liquors and/or wines in any cask, barrel, keg, hogshead or other container, except in the original sealed package as received from the manufacturer or wholesaler. Such containers shall have affixed thereto such labels as may be required by the rules of the liquor authority, together with all necessary federal revenue and New York state excise stamps as required by law. No retail licensee for on-premises consumption shall reuse, refill, tamper  with,  intentionally  adulterate, dilute or fortify the contents of any container of alcoholic beverages as  received from the manufacturer or wholesaler.

The purpose of the amendment, as stated in the sponsor’s memo, is to prevent the Authority from prosecuting licensees for bottles contaminated with fruit flies (and similar substances) when there is no evidence that the licensee intentionally contaminated the bottles. These non-intentional contaminations would, presumably, be dealt with as health code violations by local governmental agencies. The law is effective immediately.

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