On Saturday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed a package of legislation changing New York’s “blue laws” to will allow for the expanded sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday, extends the brewer’s license, where alcohol can be served, and more.
The ban on Sunday sales in New York State had been in existence since 1656, when implemented by Dutch colony of the New Netherland, but was voided after 320 years as unconstitutional, in a unanimous decision by the state’s highest court on June 17, 1976, because of a finding that “parts of the statue that are rarely enforced by the police and routinely disregarded by thousands of businesses” were “constitutionally defective.”
Relatively few parts of New York actually permit alcohol sales at all times permissible under state law; most counties have more restrictive “blue laws” of their own.
The “dry” towns in the New York State, where no alcoholic beverages are permitted to be sold, are Caneadea in Allegany County, Clymer in Chautauqua County, Lapeer in Cortland County, Orwell in Oswego County, Fremont and Jasper in Steuben County, Berkshire in Tioga County.
Legislation S.5731/A.6941 allows for the sale of beer, mead, braggot (a beer and mead mixture) and hard cider on any day of the week including Sundays. Alcohol sales for consumption off-premises were previously not permitted between 3 am and 8 am on Sundays.
Legislation S.2854/A.7305 allows liquor and wine stores to expand their Sunday hours so that they may open at 10 am and close at 10 pm. Under the previous state law, bars and restaurants could begin serving alcohol at 10 am on Sundays, but liquor stores could not open until noon.
Prior to 2006, off-premises alcohol sales were forbidden until noon on Sundays, and liquor/wine stores were required to be closed the entire day. Because grocery stores are not permitted to carry wine or liquor, the older law essentially meant that only beer and alcoholic malt beverages could be purchased at all on Sundays.
Legislation S.6443/A.6134 extends the length of validity of a brewer’s license from one year to three years.
Legislation S.3364A/A.2902 allows for businesses to prepare and keep drinks containing alcohol in pressurized dispensing machines.
Legislation S.3567A/A.6050A allows retail stores to sell complementary gift and promotional items related to wine and spirit sales.
Legislation S.6993A/A.7688 adds parcels of land to the list of premises which are exempt from the provisions of law which generally restrict manufacturers/wholesalers and retailers from sharing an interest in a liquor license.
As part of the FY 2023 Enacted Budget, alcohol to-go was established as law, allowing take out drinks.
Last year, Governor Hochul also signed legislation to allow catering establishments to apply for off-premises licenses to serve liquor at event locations, supporting caters and small businesses in the hospitality industry.