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Paul Zimmerman
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Food & Beverage Alert: Compromise Reached on NY Brunch Bill

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has reached a compromise with state legislators that will allow restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings, starting at 10 a.m. In addition, restaurants and bars outside New York City will be able to apply for a permit to serve drinks beginning at 8 a.m. (up to 12 permits a year). Establishments within New York City limits will be barred from applying for the special event permits. The “brunch bill” as it has come to be known is part of an effort to eradicate what remains of 80-year old “blue laws” that once banned alcohol sales on Sundays.

The New York State Assembly and Senate must now officially pass the legislation before the deal can become law. Once this happens, it will give businesses the flexibility to serve brunch-goers as well as patrons watching European soccer matches and other early sporting events.

The rule change has been championed by the New York State Restaurant Association. Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the trade group, noted that “it is time for New York state to upgrade this outdated, prohibition-era law and allow patrons to order their drink of choice on Sunday mornings as they are allowed to do every other day of the week.” She added that this important legislation “will generate revenue for the hospitality industry and please their patrons.”

The deal also provides breaks for alcohol sellers to help the growing wine, beer and distillery industry in New York. Governor Cuomo notes, for instance, that the legislation will help bolster New York’s craft beverage industry by eliminating onerous paperwork (combining several licenses into one application), reducing fees related to the sale of craft beverages, and reducing license fees for smaller wholesalers. Governor Cuomo explained that both he and state legislators have “worked hard to cut red tape, lower costs and roll back burdensome regulations to help New York’s craft beverage industry thrive and create jobs, as well as some of the best beer, wine, cider and distilled spirits in the world.”

This is a significant step in the modernization of New York’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, and Michelman & Robinson, LLP will stay abreast of the new rules as they are implemented and enforced.

This blog post is not offered as, and should not be relied on as, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice in specific situations.