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MISINFORMATION ON THE INTERNET

Lately, I have noticed some new websites on the internet that are posting misinformation about the types of liquor licenses available in New York State and the process of obtaining them.

I am certain that these sites have the best of intentions and are done in the public interest. However, inaccurate information is sometimes worse than no information.

After almost 15 years in a law practice that focuses on the hospitality industry, and all the elements involved, and as a member of the New York State Restaurant Association, perhaps I can be helpful in clearing up some misconceptions about liquor licensing in New York State.

Types Of Licenses

An on-premises license is for an establishment where alcohol is purchased and consumed on the premises. This type of license is for restaurants, bars, lounges, clubs, hotels, etc. In order to obtain this license, you must serve food in addition to alcohol. The food must be something more than snacks like peanuts and pretzels. A hotel applying for a hotel license must have a restaurant on the premises. A catering establishment applying for a liquor license must not be open to the public. It is limited to private events and must have suitable and adequate kitchen facilities. A club applying for a license must only be open to dues paying members and their guests, and the club license must be held by a not-for-profit company.

An off-premises license is for an establishment where alcohol is purchased but is not consumed on the premises. This type of license is for grocery stores or package stores. A package store is commonly referred to as a liquor store. Liquor stores have some special rules. You can only own one liquor store in the State of New York. Chain stores are not permitted. Liquor stores are limited to what they can sell. In order to obtain a license for a liquor store you must show that such a license would serve the public convenience and advantage. This is not easy. You need professional help.

Those are the most popular types of licenses available in New York State.

In my next blog I will explain the process of applying to the New York State Liquor Authority for a liquor license, and I will expand on other requirements involved in joining the hospitality industry.

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