New York will expand liquor servings to off-site catering

Nick Reisman

Originally published in State of Politics

It will soon be easier to say "cheers!" after saying "I do."

A bill signed Friday by Gov. Kathy Hochul is meant to make it easier for liquor to be served by eligible caterers at off-site events like weddings and banquets.

The new law is being billed as a modernization of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, which places limits on where liquor can be served.

"Let's raise a glass to newlyweds, whose love and mutual affection are an inspiration to us all," Hochul said. "By signing this new law, we are taking a significant step to support caterers and other small businesses — while helping married couples plan the celebration they've always dreamed of. I'm proud to sign this bill into law and will keep fighting for our hospitality sector and all small businesses."

The law will allow businesses without dining facilities to serve beverages at the location where the event is taking place. Since many caterers do not have facility that meet requirements for applying for and receiving a catering license, temporary licenses to serve alcohol are required.

Those permits only allow for the serving of beer, wine and cider at off-site events. The new legislation approved by Hochul allows caterers that have a kitchen, but do not have a large facility that seat more than 50 people, to apply for an off-premises catering license enabling them to serve liquor at the event.

The measure was sponsored by Democratic Assemblymember Fred Thiele and state Sen. Anna Kaplan.

"New York's antiquated and confusing liquor laws make it nearly impossible for small catering businesses to get off the ground without a big investment in their own event space, and at a time when so many of these businesses are still struggling from the pandemic era, they deserve a break from onerous and costly regulations," Kaplan said.