New York

NYC to Ban Alcohol Advertising on Public Property


New York City has decided to entirely ban alcohol advertising on any public property, according to, following the path of the NYC subway system. Despite this posture, venues that currently sell alcohol will be exempt:

New York City has banned alcohol advertising on city property, citing health risks posed by excessive drinking…

The ban, which takes effect immediately, applies to bus shelters, newsstands, Wi-Fi kiosks and recycling kiosks. Venues that are currently allowed to sell alcohol, such as restaurants, stadiums and concerts halls, are exempt.

Existing ads will be allowed to remain until their contracts end…

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority ban on advertising alcohol beverages on all New York City buses, subway cars and in stations took effect in January 2018.

Other U.S. cities that have moved to ban alcohol advertising on city property include Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles…

Read more here.

The Neo-Prohibitionists Rise Again


Even though it’s been over 80 years since Prohibition was officially repealed, the desire to ban alcohol consumption has not been totally eradicated. According to, the New York Prohibition Party has been officially re-established with the goal of “abolish[ing] the alcohol industry” in New York state:

They believe all alcohol -- beer, wine and liquor -- should be banned. It's the major long-term objective for the people behind a newly reorganized political party in New York.

They belong to the appropriately named New York Prohibition Party. Founded in 1869, it went dormant in the 1940s, about a decade after the end of America's big experiment with national Prohibition.

In 2017, a small group of true believers set out to re-establish the state party. They followed in the footsteps of a re-emerging national Prohibition Party, the oldest continuously operating third party in the country.

The ultimate goal "is to establish a lasting prohibition of the manufacture and sale of alcohol, to abolish the alcohol industry, and to establish a teetotal culture," party officials said in a set of answers to emailed questions from…

Read more here.

Alcohol Producers Benefit From Being Able to Sell Each Other's Products


Many states restrict the ability of craft alcohol producers to sell products from their competitors. While this may seem counterintuitive, many producers benefit from reciprocity laws, as the Seven Fifty Daily explains:

A few years after New Mexico’s reciprocity law was enacted, winegrowers and small brewers have enthusiastically embraced the legislation. Today, at more than 50 winery tasting rooms and brewery taprooms, producers are selling each other’s wares. So you can drink a frothy brew in a winery tasting room, or a glass of wine in a taproom. This liberalization of the sale of alcohol is giving small producers a leg up, with increased sales and revenue streams that extend beyond the tasting room.

New York led the charge for this type of legislation in 2012 with its farm producer license, which allows farm-based producers of all alcoholic beverages to sell beer, wine, cider, and spirits with a single license. The move was championed by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and the economic impact for craft beverage producers in New York has been substantial, with more than 500 new craft businesses having opened since 2012. “New York has great agriculture,” says Jennifer Smith, who represents the New York Cider Association and the New York State Distillers Guild. “There’s incredible growth in job creation and crop utilization as a result of this legislation. This ties together expressions of place, jobs, and good old-fashioned economic gains.”

New Mexico’s reciprocity law, passed in 2015, allows all New Mexico producers of beer, as well as wine and cider producers who use at least 50 percent New Mexico–grown ingredients, may self-distribute and sell any other New Mexico–made beers, wines, and ciders from their tasting rooms. Chris Goblet, the executive director of New Mexico Wines, who chaired the economic development committee responsible for developing the legislation, says, “I just thought, Wouldn’t it be easy if a local manufacturer could sell to another local manufacturer? We could have true reciprocity.”...

Read the rest here.

UPS and FedEx: Breaking Bottles on Purpose


New York's wine regulations have been a controversial topic covered on DrinksReform this year. The controversy continues, as UPS and FedEx are trashing wine shipments out of New York. This is completely both legal and intentional, Wine Searcher explains:

UPS and FedEx are confiscating and disposing of some wines shipped from New York retail stores to customers out of state.

It's totally legal for UPS and FedEx to do this, because wine shipping by retail stores to and from New York is not legal. The delivery company does not have to compensate anyone for the wine either.

Yet the idea that FedEx or UPS would let someone take a hammer and smash a bottle of Château Margaux that some anxious enophile in Indiana ordered from a Manhattan retailer: for a wine lover, even if it's not your bottle, it's painful.

Read the entire article here.

A Bad New York Bill is Brewing

We recently discussed a wine win in New York State. Now, Governor Cuomo faces a bill that has the potential to restrict wine and bartending in the state. This new bill would raise the serving age and increase restrictions on Finger Lakes wineries, Local SYR reports:

A new bill that has been passed by the New York State Assembly could have negative impacts on the wineries throughout the southern tier if it's signed into law by Governor Cuomo. That bill would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to serve alcohol or handle an open container.

But this bill goes further than just limiting who can serve the alcohol, when it comes to wineries in the Finger Lakes, there would be an increase in restrictions. The bill limits the number of wine or cider tastings a winery can give, the change would only allow for six- 3 ounce wine tastings, which would equal a total of 18 ounces of wine. However, it also makes it illegal for a winery to serve the same person twice in the same day...

Read the whole piece here.

Wine Wins in New York



We recently discussed two bills in New York that had the power to grant wholesalers more monopoly power over New York wine. Both remained in committee, which is seen as a tacital victory for wine retailers. Wine Searcher describes it here:  

The bills, NY Senate Bill S05437, introduced by State Senator Terrence Murphy; and Assembly Bill A10737 remained "in committee" when both houses went into recession on June 20th. They were among the many issues left unaddressed by a very unproductive New York legislature this year that left other issues – such as tightening gun regulations, according to the New York Times – unresolved.

"There is a tacit agreement if it doesn't get voted out of committee it dies," says John Hinman, a partner in the San Francisco-based, drinks-specialized law firm of Hinman & Carmichael. "Most of the alcoholic beverage bills don't pass," adds attorney Elke A. Hofmann, the owner of the New York City-based Elke A. Hofmann Law, PLLC. However, she notes the New York State's individual process of committees and readings process is baffling.

If these bills had passed retailers would have been prohibited from buying from private collectors and at auction. This would have made older vintages and sought-after bottles very hard to find for high-end restaurants and big-ticket buyers. This would be a challenge for the wine market anywhere, but New York is also home to all the major international auction houses. These bills are also reminiscent of when the New Hampshire State Liquor Board tried to block out-of-state retailers from shipping to residents from out-of-state stores last month.

Read more about wine's victory here.

New York Bills Could Grant Monopoly Power

As seen on DrinksReform before, New York already has laws restricting wine purchases. Grubstreet explains that two bills being discussed could further this restriction, especially concerning shops looking for older wines:

"The new rules would give any one, and only one, wholesaler control of any label, so individual winemakers, or 'any single brand,' becomes an exclusive part of the wholesaler’s portfolio. It’s effectively a monopoly, so anyone who isn’t concerned about the prospect of fewer lip-smacking Jura reds might be worried about steep price hikes that could result from a newly homogenized market.

A second implication that has wine drinkers reeling concerns the often-extraordinary impact that wine shops will have to compete and stand out by selling interesting, older bottles. Current rules allow certain merchants to buy wine directly from sources beyond wholesalers, including the cellars of private collectors. Several of the best wine shops do this; it’s what keeps the city’s wine scene diverse and interesting. And as writers like Jason Wilson have argued, the ability of merchants to specialize and sell wines made from more obscure grapes (or from far-flung regions) conveys the added benefit of biodiversity and environmental stewardship, a good remedy against the tide of industrial bottles.

The proposed legislation limits the meaning of “private collection.” Collectors would have to be “non-licensed” individuals, only selling wine that originated at a retail store or at auction, and transactions would require the original proof of purchase. Finally, if the wine is white or rosé, all bottles would have to be at least five years old; if the wine is red, port, or sparkling, that number goes up to ten..."

Check out the entire article here.


NYC's Subway and Buses Ban Alcohol Advertising


New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has decided to ban all alcohol ads in subways and buses around the city, as reported by the New York Times and others:

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday banned advertising of alcoholic beverages on New York City buses, subway cars and stations, contending that the social benefits of deterring underage drinking outweighed the loss of revenue.

After years of pressure from grass-roots organizations, the board voted unanimously in favor of the ban, which will go into effect in January...

Effective immediately, the agency will no longer accept new alcohol-related ads; existing contracts for such ads will be honored until the contracts expire at the end of the year...

Read more here. As an article in AdAge notes, this goes against recent decisions by other cities around the country to repeal alcohol advertising bans in their public transit systems:

Several big-city transit agencies already ban alcohol transit ads, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, San Diego, and Baltimore, the MTA said.

The Distilled Spirits Council, a trade group representing liquor brands, cited other cities such as Chicago, Charlotte and Washington D.C. that "have recently overturned bans on alcohol advertising on public transit with each city experiencing absolutely no negative effects." The Chicago Transit Authority reversed its ban in 2012 but kept some restrictions in place. Brands cannot advertise on buses, for instance, and alcohol ads cannot "exceed 9.99% of the total advertising space on the transit system at any one time."

Washington D.C.'s transit system overturned its alcohol ad ban in late 2015, ending a 20-year-old prohibition.

More here

[R Street's Kevin Kosar has previously written about "The Strange War on Alcohol Advertising."]

Wines Are No Longer Free to Travel Across State Lines

As has previously noted, states and private shippers are cracking down on interstate wine shipments around the country. Eric Asimov, wine columnist at the New York Times, has taken note of this trend and writes about it in his latest column:

"For a golden moment, motivated wine lovers could rely on high-speed internet as a sort of national wine shop. A consumer in Little Rock, Ark., for example, unable to find particular bottles locally, could order them from a shop in New York. It required only a willingness to pay shipping costs.

Those days are no more. In the last year or so, carriers like United Parcel Service and FedEx have told retailers that they will no longer accept out-of-state shipments of alcoholic beverages unless they are bound for one of 14 states (along with Washington, D.C.) that explicitly permit such interstate commerce.

New York is not one of those 14 states, as The Times’s wine panel learned to its chagrin in the last year...

For consumers who live in states stocked with fine-wine retailers, like New York, the restrictions are an inconvenience. For consumers in states with few retail options, they are disastrous. It’s hard enough outside of major metropolitan areasto find wines from small producers. The crackdown makes it that much harder..."

Read the rest of the column here.

NY allows farm distilleries to sell other craft beverages

New York just passed a bill that will allow farm distilleries in the state to also sell beer, cider, and other NY craft beverages for on-site consumption. reports on the law change:

"Coming soon to a farm distillery near you: other New York craft beverages that you will be able to drink on site. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday to allow farm distilleries to sell New York beer, cider and wine for consumption at their facilities. The measure corrects a loophole that prevented farm distilleries from selling beers, ciders and wines. 

Farm breweries, cideries and wineries were allowed to sell other New York-labeled craft beverages for on-site consumption. 

With Cuomo's signature, the law will take effect immediately...."

Read more here