Attorney Adrian Hunte answers all your frequently asked questions on liqour license on this video with transcription below.
Interviewer: Hi, everyone. Today, I have a special guest, Mrs. Adrian Hunte. She’s going to answer a few questions. These will be frequently asked questions, because we’re going by what many people search for when they find liquorlicensenewyork.net and also huntelaw.com.
Adrian Hunte has an office here in Westchester County, New York, and has over 20- year experience dealing with beverage, alcohol and hospitality industry. She’s a former General Counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority, and she was just named Outside Legal Counsel to the New York State Liquor Store Associations. Congratulations.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Thank you.
Interviewer: You may see some of my quotes on the website liquorlicensenewyork.net. I’ve used Adrian’s services to get my own liquor license on a few occasions, and I can say that the service was nothing short of excellent. Both restaurants were here in Westchester. Then I’ve also referred her to other people opening restaurants in the area and the city, and in Westchester. So if you’re ready, Ms. Hunte, let’s get started.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Yes, I am. Thank you very much for that fabulous introduction.
Interviewer: You’re welcome. So, I guess we should start with the things that people have searched for when they found our site. These are, generally, questions that people are asking to find us. So, “Can you get a liquor license without a CFO in New York?”
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Normally, the New York State Liquor Authority requires a Certificate of Occupancy before a license will be issued. You can submit an application with the CFO pending, however, in order to obtain the physical license – the permit, the certificate, you really need to produce a Certificate of Occupancy. There are some exceptions if you have what’s called a Letter of No Objection or a Pre-date/Pre-deed Letter from the Municipality which indicates that the premises would be predating the Certificate of Occupancy requirements for the Municipality. Then, you would produce the letter, and that would be sufficient in place of or renew of a Certificate of Occupancy.
Interviewer: Fantastic. Next, someone was researching “What is the New York State Class C liquor license?”
Mrs. Adran Hunte: A Class C license is actually a Beer Wholesaler License. Those licenses are no longer issued by the New York State Liquor Authority, at least not at this time. So in order for you to have a class C license, you would have to basically have a transfer of an existing C license from a beer or wholesaler, and you are familiar with the usual beer wholesaler – this type of where you can get beer, and soda, and lots of other items.
There is a new license – the CO which does not have the retail privileges that a C license allows. A C license B can sell to both retailers and other whole sellers and can also sell to the public. The CO license only allows for sales to retailers and wholesalers but not to the general public for the retail portion.
Interviewer: That’s good to know. So, you’re saying they’re not issuing any new ones or those at this time? Well, that’s good to know as well. Here, it’s pretty straightforward, but it says, “How to obtain an NYC Wholesale Alcoholic Beverage License?” I guess the process is the same as retail. Just fill out the forms, or is there something different about that?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Slightly different, because if you’re a wholesaler, it depends on what you’re doing as a wholesaler: are you an in-state New York wholesaler (you’re going to be in the New York State)? – the New York State license, because there are wholesalers, there are manufacturers, suppliers, and also distributors.
If you are going to have a wholesale license in the State of New York, you also need a federal permit as well – basic permit. Their differences are as follows – you may have a wholesale beer license, or you may have wholesale wine, wholesale liquor. So there are different licenses and different fees. Based on gallons and the type of process whether it’s distillation or fermentation, producing wine, you would have a different license. Also, there are certain federal requirements as well.
Interviewer: Thank you. Next comes “New York liquor license price”.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: That all depends on who’s filling out the application, and whether it’s done correctly the first time around, whether there are issues concerning community board involvement, and whether you have to go for what’s called 500-foot rule hearing, or some other type of hearing. So it depends. There may be a difference in price in different parts of the State, such as zone one being New York City, and Westchester may be a little bit more than it might be in another part of the State because of the population, and sometimes, more involved nature of the process.
Interviewer: So, there are differences in price of the actual permit depending on what type of place it is, and also where it’s located. Then depending on how much work it is if you need someone like your services.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Correct.
Interviewer: Thank you. Next, it says here, “Is a liquor license for a members-only club?”
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Yes, a true club in that sense as opposed to a nightclub, which is open to the public. A members-only club requires a special club license. There’s some one person appointed, as the club officer, who signs off on the alcohol license application. That’s for private events or me as the members-only such as golf, country clubs.
Interviewer: The other one here says, “renew liquor license in New York”, and that’s always changing as I found out.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: That’s correct. The difference now is that there’s a 30-day notice required to the Municipality for establishments located within the five boroughs of the City of New York. Outside of the five boroughs, that a 30-day notice to the Municipality is no longer required. On an original application, the 30-day notice is required in the City of New York for all types of licenses, whether it’s for wine-beer or wine-liquor. In Westchester County or outside of the City of New York, the 30-day notice finishes out. Municipality is required for full wine, liquor, and beer licenses – not just for beer or just for wine.
Interviewer: That brings up another point. These laws and regulations seem to be always changing. So, first of all, this shouldn’t be construed as any type of legal advice – just for informational purposes, I guess at an entry level. Then if you want more specific questions, you’re going to have to ask Adrian or someone qualified. Would you say that’s the case?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: That’s correct. This is not to be construed as legal advice, and that, of course, there’s no obligation for anyone to have anyone to assist them with alcohol licensing applications. However, it can be somewhat of an involved process, and you might want to confer with your representative or legal counsel with some advice.
Interviewer: On a personal note, when I first met you, I remember I had a different attorney actually. They weren’t a liquor license specialist or anything, and it was taking forever. I think six months, and we were getting nowhere. Then, I came to you, and you got it pretty quickly after that. That’s how I originally met you on a side note.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Well, thanks.
Interviewer: The person says, “Can you get a liquor license?” I know that the actual website – the NYSLA, and also on the website we wrote that you can’t have a license if you had a felony. Is that the case?”
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: The New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibits individuals who have been convicted of felonies and also of certain misdemeanors, which are the more moral turpitude type of misdemeanors, from holding an alcohol license in the State of New York.
However, if you are able to get a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities for your felony, besides, if you’ve got some other type of criminal conviction in your past that you can present an affidavit about saying that you have not been in any trouble in X number of years and, basically, saying that you won’t be in trouble any more, that can be taken into consideration by the New York State Liquor Authority.
Where there’s a felony conviction involved, and you do have a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities, that in and of itself does not guarantee that you will have a license granted or approved. It just means that it is discretionary with the authority, but it is no longer an absolute prohibition or bar against you having or obtaining a license if you can get to produce the Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities.
Interviewer: That’s very good to know because most people would probably read the rule upside and just assume that it’s impossible, but you’re saying that there is a chance that they can, in fact, get one if they’ve had a felony. That’s good to know.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Limited exceptions, but it has been done, yes.
Interviewer: This one says, “how quick can you get a temporary license?” I want also to add just any other thoughts that you may have on temporary liquor licenses.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Right now, the State Liquor Authority issues; they are called 90-day temporary permits. It all depends once again on how complete your applications are on submission. The liquor authority is doing its best to issue those temporary permits while your temporary license application is pending. So they want from the time that everything is submitted, and that you receive a receipt from the State Liquor Authority. Most temporaries are usually issued an additional two weeks to a month, perhaps, after submission of everything. That, remember, is after the 30-day period has passed on notice to the Municipality as well, if that was required.
Interviewer: Let me get this straight. Can anybody, that has all their information in, apply for a temporary license or not just anybody?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Not exactly. There are some exceptions particularly in the City of New York. If there’s what’s called a 500-foot rule issue, and where a hearing is required in the City if it’s not a transfer, meaning that there’s a license at the premises at the time you’re applying, then you may not get a temporary. They may not allow it.
Interviewer: Someone the other day asked about the differences between the licensing processes of New York and New Jersey. Can you just briefly talk about that?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Both are very difficult. New Jersey has what’s called Home Rule so that each Municipality pretty much has jurisdiction over the licensing and their particular Municipality, and it is based on population. So for every 3000 people, there may be one license issued. If the population has gone down ordinarily, the State of New Jersey will not issue a license until the population increases.
There are some other differences such as what’s called the 200-foot rule, concerning proximity to a church, synagogue, house of worship, or school. For the New York State, it is 200 feet. If you are within that 200 feet, it is prohibited; it is not discretionary; there are no wavers. As for New Jersey, there is opportunity for a waiver if the premises located next to your proposed establishment will say that they are signing off on a waiver of the 200-foot rule proscription.
In other words, the 200-foot rule is in the New York State. That is, there is no discretion. That is mandatory. It is not allowed to have a license for full liquor or for a liquor store. If it is just wine and beer, or just beer, or just wine, then the 200-foot rule does not apply. The 200-foot rule is for church, school, and synagogue. There are no exceptions to that unless you can show that your premises were in existence for many years before the church or school, or house of worship had been established.
As to the 500-foot rule, it involves whether there are three or more open and operating full on-premises liquor establishments within 500 feet of your proposed premises. It is different from the 200-foot rule in that this is a sort of a wheel-in-spokes type of measurement. It can be in front, back, side, around the corner, whereas the 200-foot rule is just for the church, school, house of worship, on the same side of the street or avenue as the premises, or church, or school.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: You’re very welcome.
Interviewer: Just any last words that you have about people trying to get a liquor license in the New York State.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: I think that it is very important to plan early and to have comprehensive advice. This means you need to consider your lease or your premises purchased, and make sure that you have provisions that will protect you concerning any contingencies for the alcohol license. It can be a very long and arduous process. You just need to be persistent and to make sure that, if you are requested to supply additional information by the agency, you do so in a timely manner.
Interviewer: Excellent. One last thing people were asking about, and I just saw it here in the questions, about catering licenses. Let’s say you have a restaurant, for example, and you want to do off-premise catering. What’s the deal there?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Catering permits are separate and required if you have a license, say for a restaurant, and you would like to provide services away from your premises. You can get a caterer’s permit, and that is for the same type of license that you have at your premises. In other words, if you have just wine and beer or just beer, then you would get a caterer’s permit for just that type of product. If you have a full wine, beer and liquor license, then you can serve wine, beer, and liquor off your premises but you must have the caterer’s permit.
You don’t have to have a restaurant. You can be a caterer, but caterers are usually catering hall and they usually do the private events. That’s their license allows them to come off of the premises as well.
Interviewer: Great. What about someone who goes to people’s houses and has like parties or mobile truck, etc.?
Mrs. Hunte: Well, you can have a caterer’s permit.
Interviewer: There’s a caterer’s permit for that? So you can apply for that?
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Yes, but we have to make sure that you are in compliance, because there are special requirements for mobile restaurant and truck, etc.
Interviewer: So that’s all different scenarios there. I think that was fantastic, Mrs. Hunte. That was great information, I think something that people will find very useful, especially for the visitors of liquorlicensenewyork.net and huntelaw.com.
Mrs. Adrian Hunte: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Interviewer: Thank you.