Important SLA announcements for the holidays

The New York State Liquor Authority has recently made two announcements that might affect your holiday business. They relate to gift wrapping and packages of alcoholic beverages and special New Year’s Day provisions.

One of the more popular adult gifts around the holidays is alcoholic beverages, such as a nice bottle of wine to thank a host, or an elegant package of finger foods and liquor for the neighbor who frequently invites you over for Sunday football. Liquor stores are especially busy this time of year for this reason. The SLA has stipulated that liquor stores may provide or sell at-cost (read: not for profit) gift wrapping and packaging. They may also put together a gift package of alcoholic beverages, which may include non-food items (wrapping paper, bows, basket/box, gift items like stuffed animals, etc.). All non-food gift items must be given away or sold at-cost (again: not for profit) and must be sold in combination with alcoholic beverages as a single package that has already been assembled by the licensee.

The SLA generally allows for a special provision for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Each year, licensees who wish to stay open until 8:00 a.m. to ring in the New Year can apply at least 45 days in advance for a Night Permit. As January 1, 2012 falls on a Sunday, the SLA will not be issuing any Night Permits. Section 106(5)(a) of ABC law forbids the selling or offering of alcoholic beverages for consumption on-premises on Sundays between 4:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. This New Year, licensees are required to adhere to the approved closing hour dictated by the county in which they are located.