On Tuesday, October 22nd, the New York State Liquor Authority held a meeting for attorneys and representatives of alcohol beverage licensees to discuss internal changes, the addition of staff, increased application processing times, and common application mistakes that result in application deficiencies. Highlights of the meeting included:
Increased Application Processing Times:
Application processing times have increased from 21 weeks to 26 weeks, but the filing receipt time has decreased to 2 1/2-3 weeks. Self certified applications process about 30 days sooner than non-certified applications. Brand label application processing times are up to 30 days from receipt of application.
Ways in which licensees and their representatives can avoid unnecessary delays:
- Licensing receives about 300 emails per day. When possible, avoid sending emails to the general licensing inbox. If you have a question regarding wholesale trade practice matters, brand label registrations, or price posting, you should email the wholesale bureau at sla.ny.gov. If you have questions specific to craft licenses, you should email [email protected]
- The SLA is seeing many deficiencies in applications for mistakes that can easily be avoided. For example, diagrams should be basic and easy to understand. Do not use architectural drawings as this will slow down the time it takes to review your application and may result in a deficiency. Floors of buildings should be clearly labeled and it is recommended that each floor within a licensed premises have its own diagram for clarity. All leases provided to the SLA should include a default clause. Be sure that bank statements provided to the SLA also include statements or other documentation to show the source of any deposits into the applicant’s account. Chairman Bradley also stressed the importance of obtaining temporary permits when feasible. Although many argue that temporary permits are too expensive, the actual license period does not start running until the temporary permit expires, so getting the temporary permit is actually cheaper and more efficient.
- There is a new address for applications. All applications requiring a fee must now be sent to NYS Liquor Authority, Brand Label Permit Unit, PO Box 782772 Philadelphia , PA 19178-2772. The SLA stated that this change will not delay application processing times.
- Electronic signatures may be used for all required signatures on applications.
- The SLA is going through a complete overhaul. They are hiring more in order to address the application backlog. Within 1 year to 18 months, the system will be fully automated no more paper applications will be accepted. However, the SLA noted that once electronic applications are submitted online, there will be less discretion if applications are deficient.