Now that City Council resolved the beer franchise issue and no such matter is before the body , let me discuss some of the questions posed to me of late, as I have a better knowledge than most of the nuances of the laws on the sale of the "devil's brew."
First, alcohol being consumed on site (a restaurant, bar, club, etc.) is the domain of what are called "on premise" licensees. They apply for a two year license and must pass the requisite background checks and what is licensed is the designated area specified in their license....That license is not able to be "used" by someone else at some other location, any more than you cannot drive a car using my license.
Further, the scrutiny extends not just to the owner, but also those managing the operation who also must be examined and approved by the NYS Liquor Authority.
This creates an aura of accoutability as the license is something to be taken seriously and protected by adherence to the law....Many of you depend on that accountability when your children are denied sale.
When a site is licensed the owner must submit floorplans and diagrams of the neighborhood, and municipalities have to be put on notice so the public has the right to weigh in on a license granting. Physical locations with a history of problems can actually be denied a license, no matter who is the applicant.
An exception is carved out for licensing locations that are remote from the licensee...This is called a catering permit, which is issued only to existing licensees...The permit allows an on premise licensee (bar or restaurant owner) to operate on a specific day at a specific location pending the submission of a security plan and permission of the person owning the site.
I used this on a couple of occasions years ago. Once when operating at the Irish Festival and once when handling the concession for a concert. The operator of the event or the promoter in essence contract with the licensed operator to provide the vending. The "caterer" is licensed to sell all legal products. By the way, the collection of sales tax applies to all such events, no matter who benefits. The licensee would have to report and pay those taxes.
Why is this privileged reserved for existing licensees ? Simple...They have demonstrated their competancy and accountability by being granted a license.
There is a provision in state law allowing not-for-profits and perhaps others to apply for a "special event permit" up to four times a year. This allows a venue not normally licensed to be used for beer and wine sales on a specific day. Multiple dispensing locations require separate permits. All other provisions of law apply including the exclusion of anyone under 16 from the event and the enforcement of the 21 year old law.
It should also be noted the "special use" permit specifically forbids the proceeds from the sale of alcohol from going to persons or organizations other than the applicant. That is because this permit is not considered a means to pursue a commerical enterprise, but is instead an occasional permit to allow an organization to raise money for itself.
Many folks think of beer like I do...just a product to be enjoyed...However, society has decided it must be sold according to rules...Sometimes the rules are bent...sometimes broken...
There is a theory that if a greater good is achieved by bending the rules, then that's OK....I might suggest that's a theory that leads to a slippery slope.