Last month the New York State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) took under review the issue of “Bill and Hold” invoicing and storage between wholesalers and retailers. The practice of Bill and Hold is when a licensed wholesaler sells product to a licensed retailer without the product being delivered to the retailer’s premises at the time of sale and instead can be stored at the wholesaler’s licensed premise or warehouse on behalf of the retailer.   In order for a wholesaler and retailer to permissibly facilitate a Bill and Hold sale, it must follow the rules outlined under Advisory 2017-1. The advisory goes into detail to explain all the necessary requirements, which include but are not limited to:  All retailers must be offered the Bill and Hold method of sale and not just specific retailers by the choice of the wholesaler. The wholesaler is also under no requirement to offer a Bill and Hold sales option. The wholesaler is not required to offer all of its products for sale under Bill and Hold.  Sales must be invoiced as of the date the retailer places the order and such date shall be considered the date of delivery for determining the final payment date for sales made on credit.  All products purchased through this sale must be stored at the wholesaler’s licensed premises or permitted warehouse.  The wholesaler must charge a market rate for storage even if it’s just for a single day. Market rate is determined by calculating an average…

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) fined two liquor stores $20,000 each for cooperative buying. The stores are owned by a husband and wife, each owning one store.  New York rules prohibit joining together to purchase products at a reduced, volume discounted price. A clip from the hearing is available here and worth watching: SLA Co-Op Clip As you will see from the video, many members of the SLA wanted to cancel both licenses. However, it was noted that the couple fully cooperated with the SLA and this was their first infraction. In the end, the SLA balanced its desire to send a strong message with the desire to encourage cooperation and settled on a $20,000 fine per store.

New York’s Governor Cuomo must make a decision regarding legislation that would block the State Liquor Authority (“SLA”) from enforcing violations of out-of-state liquor laws by New York licensees, unless the violations were enforced by the other state. The bill summary notes it: “Limits the authority of the state liquor authority to penalize licensees based on perceived violations of the laws of other states, unless the conduct in question amounts to an independent violation of the alcoholic beverage control law or has resulted in a criminal conviction in another state.” This bill stems from the SLA’s investigation into Empire Wine, a retailer that shipped wine to consumers out-of-state, allegedly in violation of those other state’s laws. The SLA sought to enforce these violations through its ability to revoke, cancel or suspend a New York license due to “improper conduct by the licensee.” Craig Wolf, the president and CEO of WSWA, noted that the bill: “presents serious threats to the beverage alcohol regulatory system, and, if signed into law, will hamstring essential regulatory powers and operational independence of the New York State Liquor Authority.” Meanwhile, backers of the bill note that without it, the SLA would be permitted to pursue other New York licensees shipping direct to consumers in other states. Governor Cuomo must act on the bill today.