Rochester brewers, sellers excited for loosened state liquor laws

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Stocking up for a Buffalo Bills watch party just got a bit more convenient. Effective immediately, beer can be bought from any retailer, at any time of day, on Sundays. Plus, New York liquor stores can open as early as 10 a.m. and stay open as late as 10 p.m.

The news of loosened laws came as a pleasant surprise to Nelson Habecker, who owns East Avenue Liquor.

“It was kind of abrupt, and very quick that it happened,” Habecker said. “I am pleased with it. The reason being that I find on Sundays many people are out in my parking lot before 12 o’clock waiting for that hour to get in.”

While Habecker isn’t expecting a major boost to his income, he’s already changed his hours in the hopes of grabbing a few more customers.

“The ability to open up at 10 o’clock allows these people, our customers, to go on with their daily routines the way they would like to with more convenience,” he said.

Other laws passed affect the backend of liquor – focusing on machinery, licensing, and what the state calls “complimentary products.”

Complementary products – such as free bottle openers, or wine glasses with a company’s logo on it – may soon become a staple in liquor stores now that they’re permitted by law.

Another big change helps the many small breweries in the Finger Lakes. Their annual brewer’s license now only needs to be renewed every three years.

Marina Nothnagle co-owns Nine Spot Brewing, and says the paperwork can be overwhelming and expensive.

“It’s a lot, I mean you have individual permits for marketing and different things,” she said. “So on top of your regular brewing license, your regular liquor license — there’s a lot of other things associated with that that people don’t realize.”

She said the change should be especially beneficial to those who are just starting out.

“To have some additional time on that license to give you some breathing room to help you get established and get yourself you know where you need to be without having to spend that every year is very helpful,” she said.