ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) — Movie theaters in New York City will be allowed to add beer and wine to their concessions for consumption by patrons watching a movie, the State Liquor Authority unanimously ruled Wednesday.
Liquor sales have long been the norm at concerts, theaters and other live entertainment venues, but movie theaters were either limited to selling beer and wine for consumption in a designated area of their lobbies, or to be licensed as a restaurant.
In giving its approval, the Liquor Authority board considered an argument from the National Association of Theater Owners, a trade organization made up of major theater chains and independent owners, that their members should have the same privileges as other businesses to sell beer and wine as an incidental part of their operations.
“The primary business of a movie theater is not the sale of alcohol, but rather the provision of a cinematic experience and food concessions,” organization attorney Theresa Russo wrote in her application. decision on the matter. “The sale of alcohol is incidental to these functions and not the main source of income.”
The policy change takes effect immediately, according to the Liquor Authority, but theaters not currently listed for selling beer and wine will need to apply for a license. This process can take months.
Movie theaters had long been pushing for a change in the rules, but news of the development surprised many theater owners.
“It’s something we’ve wanted at the Little for a long time,” Little Theater communications director Scott Pukos said of the policy change. The Little is operated by WXXI Public Media.
“It just opens up a lot of possibilities,” Pukos said. “One of them is creative collaborations. Rochester has an amazing craft beer and wine scene, so it allows us to potentially work with some of these other organizations and do some fun collaborations.
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