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Liquor Authority green lights booze deliveries

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The New York State Liquor Authority today issued rules that will allow restaurants, breweries, and other establishments to provide take-out sales and home delivery of alcohol. The state’s making the change to help minimize the hit the businesses are taking from the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions.

AJs Beer Warehouse in Henrietta offers local, domestic and imported beer and ciders. - PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • PHOTO BY JACOB WALSH
  • AJs Beer Warehouse in Henrietta offers local, domestic and imported beer and ciders.
The new guidance from the State Liquor Authority allows for any liquor license holder or producer, like a brewery or winery, to deliver any product they are authorized to sell on site, so long as it’s in a sealed container. If breweries and bars want to sell alcohol for delivery, they’ll be required to sell food with it.

The Liquor Authority released its rules a day after Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all restaurants, bars, breweries, and distilleries to move entirely to take-out or delivery service. As part of that announcement, he said licensed establishments would be allowed to sell alcohol for take-out or delivery.

Cuomo issued the directive as part of a collaborative effort with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. The three governors also directed casinos, gyms, and movie theatres to close Monday evening, and banned events and gatherings with more than 50 people. The measures are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

AJ’s Beer Warehouse stocks hundreds of different beers on the shelves of its massive walk-in cooler, and some on its floorspace. It’ll offer delivery of cans, bottles, and kegs of beer within a 25 mile radius of their storefront on Clay Road in Henrietta, with a $25 minimum and a $3 delivery fee.

“Honestly the way we’re doing things right now is taking calls and walking through the shelves with people,” said general manager Kristy Miner. “Since we can’t do that in person right now, we want it to be as personable an experience as possible.”



The store’s delivery drivers will be sent out for beer runs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Customers will be asked to pay with a card and will be asked to show their ID at the door, preferably through a window.

“We want to keep people as healthy as possible and out of the stores,” Miner said. “This is our way of doing that.”

Many local breweries, including Three Heads, Swiftwater, and Fifth Frame will be offering to-go beer as public health officials ramp up their response to the coronavirus pandemic. One Stop Brew Shop on Ridgeway Avenue in Greece will also be offering free call-ahead curbside service.

Under the Liquor Authority’s guidelines, bars and restaurants will be able to include alcoholic drinks, including mixed drinks, with food orders. The beverages must be in a sealed container.

Any facility found to be serving food or beverages on-site during the ban face fines ranging from $10,000 for retail sites to $100,000 for brewers and distillers.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at gfanelli@rochester-citynews.com.