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NY Clears Way For Movie Theaters To Sell Beer, Wine

Movie theater
Movie theater Photo Credit: Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

Wine and beer options are coming soon to a movie theater new you.

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) unanimously approved a measure to allow cinemas to serve beer and wine at their concession stands.

Previously, unlike concerts, plays, and other live entertainment, movie theaters were only permitted to sell alcohol for consumption before their film. Now they will be able to take their drinks inside the theater to enjoy during their show.

The decision from the SLA came following an appeal from the National Association of Movie Theatre Owners, which made the argument that they should be extended the same privilege as those other venues and non-restaurant businesses.


“The SLA’s Full Board voted to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, businesses operating movie theaters are eligible to apply for a tavern-wine or restaurant-wine license, without the need for a restaurant menu and table service, provided that alcoholic beverage sales are incidental to their operations as a movie theater,” the New York State Liquor Authority said in a statement.

According to the SLA, the policy change takes effect immediately as of Thursday, Jan. 20, though any theater not already licensed to sell beer and wine will need to apply for a liquor license, a process that could potentially take months.

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