MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION NAMED TO REFORM THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW
Temporary Commission Tasked with Voting to Recommend Changes to Modernize New York State’s Alcohol Laws
Comment Period to Open for Stakeholders, Community Groups, and the Public
This month, the Commission to Study Reform of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law will begin meeting. The Commission, created as part of the enacted FY 2023 State Budget, is tasked with voting to recommend changes to modernize and simplify the state’s nearly 90-year-old alcohol laws. Meetings will be held over the coming months with a final report issued no later than May 1, 2023.
The Commission will, though a majority vote of its members, put forward recommendations for changes to the law. Any proposal that receives a majority vote will be included in the final report as a recommendation of the Commission, and will then be reviewed for potential legislative action. Proposals that do not receive sufficient votes will not be recommended by the Commission.
The temporary state commission will address issues including but not limited to:
The industry’s economic impact on the state;
Changes in the law and/or SLA resources to speed license application processing; and
Industry reform and modernization proposals as voted on by industry stakeholders.
The Chairman of the State Liquor Authority, Vincent Bradley, will preside over the twenty-one-member commission, which includes representatives from the Department of Taxation and Finance, the Division of the Budget, Empire State Development, the New York State Police, in addition to ten members appointed by the Governor, two by the Senate Majority Leader, two by the Speaker of the Assembly, and one member each appointed by the Senate Minority Leader and the Assembly Minority Leader.
The ten members appointed by Governor Hochul are:
Courtney Armour: Courtney J. Armour is Chief Legal Officer for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Inc. (DISCUS) and Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org). DISCUS is a national trade association representing suppliers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. At DISCUS, Ms. Armour guides legal and regulatory policy issues, working to gain input from all members of the spirits producer tier and build consensus on these issues. She also works closely with organizations representing other alcohol commodities and industry tiers to understand their positions. Ms. Armour’s experience working on state alcohol policy dates back more than fifteen years. Ms. Armour also has significant experience managing complex legal issues in other highly regulated industries. For nearly a decade, she served as a member of the antitrust group at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she represented clients on competition matters in complex litigation, merger advocacy, product innovation and business counseling, and both domestic and foreign government investigations. These matters involved representation before federal courts, the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission, and other state and foreign authorities. Ms. Armour also has experience working directly for a private company which can help inform the impact of regulations – she served as a Competition Counsel Secondee to Google, Inc. in New York City, where she managed investigations and provided counseling on product innovations and business plans, both domestic and foreign. She also has public service experience working on public policy, serving on the staff of former U.S. Senator Robert F. Bennett, as well as experience applying the laws and regulations, serving as a judicial extern for the Honorable Dale A. Kimball, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.
Michael Correra: Michael A. Correra is a third-generation liquor store owner, along with his grandfather, father, and uncle. Since 1995, Correra has owned Michael-Towne Wines & Spirits, located in Brooklyn Heights. His establishment, originally licensed in 1934 (License #63), is one of the original licenses following the end of Prohibition. In addition to owning a liquor store, Mr. Correra has also served as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Package Store Association (“Metro”) since 2008. Founded in 1934, Metro is the premier trade association representing the political and business interests of liquor stores across New York State. Under Correra’s leadership, Metro has led several campaigns in support of NY wineries and distilleries and the promotion of NY wines and spirits in retail package stores, protected retailers’ privileges under the three-tier system, and advocated for public convenience and advantage licensing statutes. Correra has also served on several legislative roundtables and working groups to work together with industry to review, update, and modernize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws. Michael is a graduate of Poly Prep Country Day School, St. Francis College, and has an MBA from Wagner College in Business and Managerial Economics. He is a member of the Retailers’ Alliance and The Retail Council of NYS.
Keven Danow: Keven Danow is an attorney and founding member of Danow, McMullan & Panoff, P.C., a law firm based in New York that concentrates its practice in the area of alcoholic-beverage control laws and regulations. For more than 45 years, Mr. Danow has guided industry members through the regulatory complexities involved in the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of beverage alcohol. He is proficient in the development and implementation of compliance, risk management, and best practices to facilitate success of companies in regulation-intensive environments, including multi-state beverage-alcohol businesses. He was also a certified public accountant and, before becoming an attorney, worked for four years as an agent of the Internal Revenue Service in its Large Case Group, where he handled complex cases and tax audits of companies with substantial assets. Mr. Danow has long dedicated himself to the development of alcoholic-beverage policy in New York. In 2016, Mr. Danow was appointed to the New York State Liquor Authority’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Working Group, where he assisted in drafting the report on the proposed reorganization, revisions, and modernization of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. In 2009, Mr. Danow provided guidance and unique insights to the New York State Law Revision Commission as it worked to address a number of perceived deficiencies in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. The New York State Bar Association’s Government, Law and Policy Journal invited Mr. Danow to serve as a guest editor. Mr. Danow is a contributing editor of Beverage Media and frequently speaks to regional and national audiences about legal issues facing the alcoholic-beverage industry
Sonya del Peral: Ms. del Peral is a Proprietor and the General Manager at Nine Pin Ciderworks in Albany New York, and, since its foundation in 2013, she has been responsible for its administrative and financial operations. Previously, Ms. del Peral was an attorney for several law firms including as a Partner at Bowers and del Peral, PLLC from 2016 to 2018, a Partner at the Law Office of Sonya del Peral from 1996 to 2016, an associate at Whiteman Osterman and Hanna LLP from 1993 to 1996, and an associate at Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP from 1991 to 1993. Over the course of her legal career, Ms. del Peral represented various small businesses in connection with licensing and related matters before the New York State Liquor Authority and the United States Alcohol Tobacco and Trade Bureau. Ms. del Peral assisted in the formation of the New York Cider Association (NYCA) and the Capital Craft Beverage Association. She currently serves as the Chair of the Legislative Committee of the NYCA.
Melissa Fleischut: Ms. Fleischut is the President and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association and has fiercely guided the Association through some of its most challenging times. She has been with the organization in various roles for 23 years and has led it since 2013. Previously, Ms. Fleischut worked in the Government Affairs Department of the National Restaurant Association. Ms. Fleischut obtained an M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University in 1993 and a B.A. in Political Affairs from Union College in 1990. Ms. Fleischut has championed many ABC Law changes during her tenure with the Association, including momentous victories like the brunch bill and alcohol to-go for the industry.
Jeffrey Garcia: Jeffrey Garcia is a retired NYPD 1st Grade Detective with a noteworthy career in the Organized Crime Control Bureau. He is also an accomplished entrepreneur and industry leader with various business interests in New York City. He is owner of Mon Amour Coffee & Wine in Kingsbridge, and Wahizza Pizza, a Washington Heights artisanal pizza shop. He is also the former owner of a Financial Services Company and associated hubs, which provided remittances and other services to the immigrant community since 2006. Mr. Garcia is Co-Founder and former President of the Latino Cannabis Association (L.C.A.A., Inc.), providing vision and leadership to bring diversity, equality and inclusion to the newly developed adult-use cannabis industry in New York State. He is currently the President of the New York State Latino Restaurant Bar & Lounge Association, having also previously served as President from 2016-2020, when he guided his membership through the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Jeffrey acted as an advocate and intermediary for his membership in dealing with the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and other regulatory agencies. He came up with a five-point plan to create more transparency and education opportunities in the industry and during his tenure, the association hosted a first of its kind training with the SLA which was taped and is accessible on SLA’s website. At a critical point in the pandemic, Mr. Garcia fought to re-open the industry, hosting a rally in Times Square with hundreds of restaurant owners and employees, which garnered national media attention. He also pushed to impose a cap on predatory third-party delivery fees, was a vocal advocate for outdoor dining and worked with coalition partners to create the ‘Blueprint to Save Small Business’, which outlined key areas to help the industry in its recovery. He also, spearheaded giveaway events where thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were provided to employees and customers. Due to his efforts, Mr. Garcia was appointed to the NYC Mayor's Small Business Advisory Council and as an Ambassador to the NYS Governor's COVID-19 Neighborhood Outreach Program. Going forward, Mr. Garcia is focused on bringing information and education to his membership, making sure the NYS Latino Restaurant Bar & Association has a seat at the table and that their issues are addressed.
Stephen Hanson: New York City hospitality veteran Stephen Hanson is best known for founding BR Guest Hospitality in 1987 (although his first restaurant- Peachtree’s was opened in 1974). Under Hanson’s leadership and management spanning over 27 years, he created a hospitality brand based on excellent service and value. Throughout Hanson’s reign he created, opened, and operated over 30 restaurants and four hotel brands through New York City, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Florida, Chicago and Arizona. In 2007, Starwood Capital Group bought half of the company and in 2013, Hanson stepped away from BR Guest, selling his remaining shares and moving on to his next venture. Launching and nurturing careers of Michelin-starred chefs like Michael White and Fabio Trabocchi while responsible for popular concepts Blue Water Grill, Dos Caminos, Bill’s Bar & Burger and the award-winning Fiamma, Hanson has always had one foot rooted in what people want and the other planted in what people will want. Hanson got his first taste of the restaurant business in the early 1970s when he worked as a maître d’ at the original TGI Friday’s, while studying at NYU’s Stern School of Business. After graduation, Hanson opened the popular Westchester nightclub, Peachtree’s in 1974. After selling his interest in the club, and a brief stint as an executive in the fashion world, he left and then opened, BR Guest Hospitality. Hanson has always been involved in a variety of community organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Publicolor, and prior sat on the Executive Board of NYC & Co. and as a Board Member of ABNY, among other philanthropic pursuits.
Mark Koslowe: Mark A. Koslowe is Managing Partner of Buchman Law Firm, LLP. Mr. Koslowe received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973 from Yeshiva University, a Juris Doctor degree from Fordham Law School in 1976 and an Advanced Professional Certificate (in taxation) from New York University, School of Business in 1979. He was admitted to the New York and Florida Bars in 1977 and to the Bar of the District of Columbia in 1979. He was also admitted to practice in 1977 before the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. Mr. Koslowe possesses substantial experience in the alcoholic beverage licensing of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers nationwide, both federal and state. He frequently advises clients with respect to the labeling and advertising of their products as well as trains clients regarding a variety of alcoholic beverage trade practice issues. With respect to NYS Alcoholic Beverage Control Law (“ABCL”), he testified at and supplied materials to the 2008 NYS Law Revision Commission, Chaired by Robert M. Pitler, which Commission was formed to review the ABCL and propose action to address deficiencies in the law. Further, he was a Member of the 2016 New York State Liquor Authority Working Group, Chaired by Vincent Bradley, formed to consider the reorganization of, and revisions to, the ABCL. Mr. Koslowe’s practice also includes working with U.S. Customs (Border Protection) on import/export matters related to alcoholic beverages, and with the Alcohol & Tobacco and Tax & Trade Bureau (permit applications and trade practice issues). Rounding out 45 years of experience in the Beverage Alcohol Industry, Mr. Koslowe regularly addresses a variety of unique alcohol regulatory considerations such as special industry franchise arrangements and beverage formulations.
Kimberly Wagner: Kim and her husband produce award-winning wines and spirits as the founders and owners of Stoutridge Vineyard, a vineyard, farm winery and distillery established in 2000 in Marlboro, NY. She is responsible for all compliance, financial and distribution activities for this family-owned manufacturing and tourism business which sources 100% of its fruit and grain inputs directly from New York State growers. Kim has extensive experience serving on the boards of public, private, and not-for-profit organizations with agricultural, sustainability and/or educational missions. Examples of her leadership roles include being the past Board President of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, past Board President of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, current Board President of Ulster County Farm Bureau. She is also a Cornell University Trustee and a board member for the National Grape Research Alliance. She is the founder of TBGD Partners, a boutique firm providing expertise to early and mid-stage ventures in the agribusiness, food/nutrition and life sciences sectors. She has been a Venture Partner at Flagship Pioneering and President and Chief Operating Officer of CiBO Technologies. Before that she was a Partner at McKinsey & Co. and a Senior Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. She holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MS from Texas A&M University, and a BS with distinction from Cornell University.
Paul Zuber: Paul Zuber joined The Business Council in November of 2021 as Executive Vice President. In his capacity as Executive Vice President, Mr. Zuber works directly with The Business Council’s 3,500 member businesses, 70% of which are small businesses. The membership of The Business Council is broad and diverse with members representing each sector of the economy including those within the alcohol and beverage sector. As well as working directly with these companies, Mr. Zuber also overseas government affairs for The Business Council’s members. Mr. Zuber in his capacity as Executive Vice President also works with state chambers of commerce across the country as well as the US Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining The Business Council, Mr. Zuber was a Senior Vice President at Albany Strategic Advisors (ASA) where he worked on behalf of a multitude of clients seeking government affairs and strategic consulting services. At ASA Mr. Zuber also worked for a number of clients within the alcohol and beverage industry including those in the retail and wholesale sector. Before joining ASA, Mr. Zuber was a Vice President at Powers & Company where he again represented an array of clients many of which were in the alcohol and beverage sector. Before moving to the private sector, Mr. Zuber worked on the staff of the New York State Senate Majority in the Majority Counsel/Program Office. At the Senate one of Mr. Zuber’s key issue areas was alcohol and beverage control. As well as working on ABC Law issues, Mr. Zuber also handled issues related to taxes, human rights, gaming, and transportation.
The two members appointed by Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins are:
Evan Gallo: Evan Gallo is currently Chief of Investigations & Counsel in the Office of New York State Senator James Skoufis. He is largely responsible for directing the actions, agendas, and examinations of the NYS Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, which has substantial jurisdiction over alcohol related matters. In his present and past positions with the NYS Legislature, Mr. Gallo has developed a deep appreciation and understanding of the many issues and stakeholders associated with the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Previously, Mr. Gallo was Legislative Director & Counsel in the Office of New York State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill. Mr. Gallo also formerly served as Deputy Comptroller in the Office of the Ulster County Comptroller.
Jeff Zacharia: Zachys is a fourth-generation fine wine business started by my grandfather, Zachy in 1944. Mr. Zacharia’s father took over in 1961 and Mr. Zacharia himself joined the company in 1983. His son Tom joined this year. Zachys has stores in Port Chester NY and Washington DC. Earlier this year they moved their store to Port Chester and will be moving their warehouse to Port Chester this fall going from 40K sq feet to 70K sq feet. Zachys hold auctions in NY, Hong Kong and London and are one of the largest wine auction houses in the world. Zachys holds three types of auctions: live sales, usually in restaurants in NYC (Le Bernadine, Smith and Wollensky), studio sales (live auctioneers in their studio in Port Chester) and timed auctions (like eBay). Zachys also does wine storage in New York and Washington, DC.
The two members appointed by Assembly Speaker Heastie are:
Steven Harris: With almost 30 years’ experience navigating the intricacies of the Albany process, Steve Harris is President of Cordo & Company. Steve has expertly represented the interests of private sector companies and trade associations before the New York State Legislature and Executive for the past two decades, achieving consistent results for his clients. Steve’s experience both inside and outside of state government provides a foundation for the nuanced and dogged advocacy he employs on behalf of his clients. Steve represents key players in the insurance, telecommunications, education, and entertainment fields, including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Steve is the President of the New York State Beer Wholesalers Association and operates as their principal lobbyist and Executive Director. Steve was previously a member of the 2009 Law Revision Commission’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Study as well as the 2015-2016 New York State Liquor Authority Alcoholic Beverage Working Group. His career started in public service, beginning under Senator Roy M. Goodman in 1987 and later serving as Counsel to Senator Michael J. Tully, Jr. Steve entered the private sector, eventually becoming principal in the firm of Vacek, Harris & McCormack P.C., where he provided legislative representation to industry leaders in real estate, banking, and insurance sectors. A graduate of SUNY Oswego (1987) and Albany Law School (1990), Steve is a long-time resident of the Capital Region.
Andrew Rigie: Andrew Rigie is the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, an association representing restaurants and nightlife venues throughout the five boroughs. Andrew was born into the hospitality business, working at his family’s third generation bakery in Queens, NY. He later “got his apron dirty” by working multiple positions within the industry before joining the New York State Restaurant Association in 2004. There he recruited members, was a grassroots organizer, and provided resources and consulting services to restaurant operators, including its Nightlife Association chapter that represented bars and nightclubs. In 2009, Andrew took the helm of the 80+ year old Association's New York City operations as its Executive Vice President. Rigie utilized the knowledge he gained working inside the industry and on its behalf, to become the founding executive director who launched the independent New York City Hospitality Alliance in 2012. Since then, The Alliance has grown into a premier organization delivering information, education, services and representing thousands of restaurants and nightlife venues in the halls of government and in the media. In addition to his executive duties, Rigie serves on multiple advisory boards ranging from regulation to education. Notably, he is the Chair of New York City’s Office of Nightlife Advisory Board, Interim Chair and 1st Vice Chair of Community Board 7 (Manhattan) and a member of the New York State and New York City COVID-19 working committees. He is a vocal industry advocate, public speaker, frequent panelist and moderator, host of the Hospitality & Politics podcast, Forbes and Total Food Service News contributing author, and recognized commentator on local, national and international media platforms. Rigie is a Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 Honoree, City & State listed him on their New York City Power 100 List, and he is a recipient of Hunter College’s Stars in NYC Food Policy, among other recognitions. Rigie is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan.
The member appointed by Senate Minority Leader Ortt is:
Edward Cooper: Edward Cooper joined Total Wine & More in 2011, bringing with him over twenty-five years of public affairs experience. His duties include state and local governmental affairs for various businesses in the retail alcohol industry, including New York Fine Wine & Spirits which operates under the Total Wine Spirits & More trade name in Westbury, New York. Ed collaborates with elected officials and their staffs, members of the beverage alcohol industry and other stakeholders to identify and enact reasonable public policy solutions for alcohol issues. He has served as a panelist at regional and annual meetings of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators and National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association and served as a member of task forces and working groups seeking to modernize the industry and promote economic development. In 2017, Ed was selected to serve as a representative of the retail tier on the Massachusetts Treasurer’s Task Force seeking to update laws and regulations that had been in place in MA since the end of Prohibition in 1933. Before joining Total Wine, Ed was the founder/principal of Highland Stone Associates providing integrated public affairs services to Fortune 500 companies operating in the regulated environments of beverage alcohol, electric utilities and pharmaceuticals. Earlier, he directed public outreach efforts for the National Association of Home Builders and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and served as professional staff member in the U.S. Senate. A graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), Ed and his wife, Robin, herself an HWS graduate, maintain a home in Geneva, New York, where HWS is located. Both of their children attended HWS. Ed has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 2012. An active and involved member of the community, Ed, together with his wife Robin, provides financial support and volunteers time to HWS, Boys & Girls Clubs of Geneva and Geneva’s Smith Center for the Performing Arts. In 2017, Ed co-founded a small real estate business with a mission of providing Geneva’s workforce with affordable rental housing. Ed and Robin are a part of FLX Group, LLC which operates the FLX Goods store located on Linden Street in downtown Geneva. The self-styled “General Store of the Finger Lakes,” promotes and provides locally sourced products that are hand-crafted or manufactured by Finger Lakes-based small businesses. FLX Goods directly employs eight people and supports over 25 small businesses across the Finger Lakes region that employ 200+ people.
The member appointed by Assembly Minority Leader Barclay is:
Ashley White: Ashley White was recently promoted to the Senior General Manager of the Anheuser- Busch Baldwinsville New York Brewery. As Senior General Manager, Mrs. White is responsible for the safety and development of the over 650 employees employed at the facility, the highest standards of quality for all products served to customers and the performance of the brewery. The brewery will brew, package and ship over 6 million barrels of beer and flavored alcoholic beverages in 2022. Prior to taking on the role of Senior General Manager, Ashley was a Zone Brewery Support Director for the North America Zone in St. Louis, Missouri and prior to that worked for 10 years in operations across several North American breweries in varying capacities in quality assurance, brewing and operations. Opened in 1983, our Baldwinsville brewery is known for the key role it plays in developing our new innovations. In addition to brewing our core brands — such as Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob ULTRA — the team brews more than 75 different brands. As part of our commitment to building a better world, our Baldwinsville brewery's off-site solar installation provides an additional 3 million kilowatt-hours back to the distribution grid annually, providing enough solar electricity to brew over 3 million cases of beverages a year!
To garner comment on the items that will be discussed, the State Liquor Authority has created a dedicated email address. Industry stakeholders, community groups, and other interested parties are encouraged to share their comments with the Commission here: [email protected]