BYOB alternative: Bottle Club License

One of our clients has a business that is not primarily food and beverage oriented, nor is it a traditional sports or theatrical entertainment venue. The business has a causal, upbeat social environment. The business wants to offer BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) but New York State Liquor Law does not have an on-premises license category for serving alcohol if you are not an essentially operating as a restaurant or bar. The creative solution involved a bottle club license. A bottle club is a place where people bring bottles of wine for storage and they drink them on the premises. This is styled after a cigar club. (No open bottles can leave the premises.) However, with a bottle club license, the business can allow customers to BYOB and enjoy wine at the business events as long as the business oversees consumption to prevent drunken disorderly conduct, stores the bottles in a locked cabinet and ensures compliance with the legal drinking age.

With the bottle club license, on-premises consumption is permitted, but there can be no sales or free alcohol provided by the business. Food sales are not required, which can ease compliance issues with the health department and sales tax collection.

If you find your business plan does not easily fit into the SLA categories, consulting an experienced attorney may help open the door to creative solutions to help you meet your goals and objectives.