DUTCHESS COUNTY – The New York State Liquor Authority voted last week to allow Dutchess County liquor stores the ability to stay open until 9 p.m., which is two hours later than the law previously allowed. The retailers are now also allowed to open on Thanksgiving but must remain closed on Christmas Day.
Several Dutchess County liquor retailers lobbied the county legislature in 2019, asking them to pass the resolution requesting the state to extend the hours. The county passed it, County Executive Marcus Molinaro vetoed it, asking for broader public participation, which occurred, and then it was sent to the State for further action.
After a public hearing by the liquor authority, they voted in favor of the change, to the delight of Paige Flori, owner of Boutique Wines & Spirits in Fishkill. Flori was instrumental in bringing the issue to the county legislature.
“It opens up a lot of opportunities for our customers that are coming from out of the area to purchase wine and liquor here locally in Dutchess County, which helps keep the tax revenue in Dutchess County,” said Flori.
Boutique Wines & Spirits is located in the Hudson Valley Town Center, just off of I-84 in Fishkill and is in close proximity to 11 hotels with 1,000 rooms available.
Flori said that for her first three years in business, many of the out-of-town customers were forced to travel over to Newburgh after 7 p.m. in order to purchase spirits. This law effectively changes that because Dutchess liquor stores now have the same hours as their counterparts in Orange and Ulster counties.
Not all liquor store proprietors are pleased with the change. Jean McArthur, owner of McArthur’s Wines & Liquors in Hyde Park said “I think it’s unfortunate. There is no consideration that most of us are owner-operators and these new hours take away from our families, especially the holidays. I might add it will not increase business, just increase operating expenses and create potential safety issues.”
Molinaro weighed in on the recent vote by the liquor authority, saying “The state makes this unnecessarily complicated and should adopt reforms to allow communities to address business operations through zoning and review of local impacts. Despite the hurdles New York sets, and after considerable public dialogue, liquor stores across Dutchess can now choose to expand hours and provide more opportunity for customers.”
While most liquor stores are subjected solely to the rules and regulations of the New York State Liquor Authority, Boutique is also subjected to regulations put forth by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets because they sell hard cider.
The liquor store has a hand-crafted apple tree nestled in the corner of the store complete with a tap handle that dispenses hard cider. Along with the local cider, the store also has more than 10 other taps that afford customers the opportunity to sample a variety of hard ciders.