Recent changes in New York's alcohol laws have some drinkers scratching their heads and wondering what's legal and what isn't.

During the Pandemic alcohol rules went out the window in New York State. those who think back to 2020 probably remember picking up margaritas at their favorite restaurant and getting home delivery of their favorite local beer. The need to keep people happy during one of the darkest times in their lives meant that the alcohol had to keep flowing.

In New York, then-governor Cuomo relaxed many alcohol rules making it easier for residents to drown their sorrows while hunkering down in their homes. As the pandemic began to become less scary, residents got used to some of these alcohol policies and urged the state to keep them going, even after the pandemic was over.


Alcohol To Go

To the dismay of many drinkers, the emergency regulation that made it legal to order alcohol to go lapsed in June of 2021. Last year, Governor Hochul added a provision to the 2023 budget that brought the popular service back, making it once again legal for restaurants to offer to-go drinks as long as customers also ordered a "substantial" food item.

The law is set to expire, however, in 2025 unless lawmakers renew it.

Wine in Grocery Stores

Don't you think it's kind of strange that you can buy bottles of beer in a New York grocery store, but not wine? Governor Hochul seems to think so and has indicated that she intended to change regulations to make it easier to purchase wine.


Many were expected to see a new law allowing grocery store wine sales in New York's 2024 budget, but that hasn't happened. Liquor store owners, who are still upset about restaurants being allowed to sell mixed drinks to go, have been vehemently opposed to giving up exclusive rights to selling wine as well. It appears those complaints have caused Hochul to delay proposing any legislation about wine, although she says she's still dedicated to overhauling many of New York's outdated alcohol regulations.

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