Chapter 478 of the Laws of 1934, known as the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (ABC Law), created the State Liquor Authority and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The Legislature enacted this measure "for the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of the State."
The New York State Liquor Authority ("SLA" or "Authority") and its agency arm, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), were established under New York State Law in 1934 to:
"regulate and control the manufacture and distribution within the state of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of fostering and promoting temperance in their consumption and respect for and obedience to law; for the primary purpose of promoting health, welfare and safety of the people of the state, and, to the extent possible, supporting economic growth, job development, and the state’s alcoholic beverage production industries and its tourism and recreation industry; and which promotes the conservation and enhancement of state agricultural lands, provided that such activities do not conflict with the primary regulatory objectives of this chapter.." The SLA is also authorized by statute to "determine whether public convenience and advantage will be promoted by the issuance of licenses to traffic in alcoholic beverages … and to carry out the increase or decrease in the number thereof and the location of premises licensed … in the public interest."
The SLA Board consists of three Commissioners, one of who is the Chairman. The Chairman serves as the agency’s administrative head.
The SLA/ABC operates three offices: New York City (Zone 1), Albany which serves as the agency headquarters (Zone 2), and Buffalo (Zone 3). The agency's Licensing Division is responsible for the timely processing of licenses, permits and brand label registrations. The Enforcement Unit and Office of Counsel are responsible for the protection of the public by working with local law enforcement agencies to bring administrative actions against licensees who violate the law. The Wholesale Bureau oversees the state’s monthly price posting system and ensures that the laws and regulations affecting each segment of the liquor industry are enforced.
The SLA, therefore, seeks to:
- Work cooperatively with community leaders and industry members to ensure participation by all agency stakeholders in the licensing and enforcement processes;
- Ensure that those who abuse the privilege of holding a license are fairly and firmly disciplined; and
- Increase productivity through a number of technological initiatives.