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RECENT CHANGES TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW – AUGUST 2013

There are two changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law that were recently signed by Governor Cuomo that amended sections 109 and 110 and subdivision 2 of section 106.

The first change requires applicants to provide additional information on their original and renewal applications. The other change to the law places limits on the ability of the Authority to prosecute contaminated bottle charges against retailers.

The law amending sections 109 and 110 of the ABC Law adds a new item that must be included in all applications (original and renewals). The applications including renewals must now have a statement describing 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.” This new law provides that the Authority cannot waive this new item. All original applications and  renewals will have to include the required statement.

The law takes effect on September 29, 2013.  The new forms will be available on the website on August 16th. The old forms can be used prior to September 29, 2013, however all applications received by the Liquor Authority on or after September 29, 2013 must be on the new forms.

The new law also 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 reason for the change to the law is to prevent the Liquor Authority from fining and/or prosecuting licensees for bottles contaminated with fruit flies (and similar substances) when there is no evidence or proof 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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