Experiences Involving Alcohol in New York City
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
I plan to include alcohol during my experience, is there anything I should be thinking about?
Yes. If you plan to include alcohol during your experience, we encourage you to please keep your safety, and that of your Guests, front of mind.
Safe experiences do not involve providing alcohol to a Guest:
- Who is under 21;
- Who will be driving or operating any type of vehicle;
- Who looks or acts inebriated;
- Who has informed you that they are ill or has a drinking problem; or
- Until after any portion of an Experience involving physical activity (like yoga, swimming, hiking, biking) or activities that involve operating machinery is complete.
In addition, if you are hosting an Experience with alcohol in a public venue or outdoor space, make sure alcohol is permitted to be consumed in that venue and consider whether a permit is required.
Do I need a license if I serve alcohol to my guests at my home, at a private venue or outdoors?
To sell alcohol to your guests, you either need a license under the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law or you need to hire a licensed caterer. Note that, for a variety of reasons, licenses are not generally available for alcohol to be sold at a private residence. Selling alcohol includes situations where:
- You sell alcohol to your Guest directly - by, for example, charging Guests for a glass of wine you serve yourself.
- You sell alcohol to your Guest indirectly - by, including a charge for the wine you serve to your Guest in your Experience price.
Serving Complimentary Alcohol:
The New York State Liquor Authority does not prohibit alcohol to be served at private, invitation-only events in private residences where there is no direct or indirect charge for that alcohol.
However, keep in mind that any direct or indirect charge for alcohol service without a license or permit may be a violation of New York Law. For example, an obvious indirect charge for alcohol service - charging one price for a meal without alcohol while charging a higher price for a meal with alcohol - could be considered a prohibited sale by the Liquor Authority.
With this in mind, if you choose to serve complimentary alcohol without a license or permit as part of your Experience, make sure that:
- You don’t charge for the alcohol you serve (this means your Experience price cannot include the cost of any alcohol you serve to your Guests);
- If your Listing notes that alcohol will be provided as part of your Experience, clearly mention that it will be provided by Guests or “at no charge;” and
- Your Experience is pre-booked by Guests and you don’t let in people who are not invited or pre-booked.
Generally speaking, this is a tricky area and we encourage you to check with your local division of the New York State Liquor Authority. and speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting these provisions and are following your local laws.
What if my Experience is BYO, and I want to allow guests to bring their own alcohol?
If your Experience is in your private home or other private location, involves less than 20 guests, and it is not open to the general public, then hosting a BYO Experience may not require a license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. You may want to consider hosting a BYO Experience and inviting Guests to bring their own alcohol as a practical alternative to serving complimentary alcohol.
Q. What if my experience takes place at a business with a liquor license, like a bar or restaurant?
You would be unlikely to run afoul of regulations if you take your guests to your favorite local bars or restaurants that are licensed by the New York State Liquor Authority. You can even pay for their first round of drinks there and include the cost in your Experience Price.
Is there a way for me to include a direct or indirect charge for serving alcohol to my Guests?
Yes, you can hire a licensed caterer or bring your guests to a restaurant or a bar.
In addition, you can get a Temporary Beer, Wine and Cider Permit from the New York State Liquor Authority. The permit costs $36 and allows you to sell wine, beer, or cider (no liquor allowed) at your Experience for 1 day only. Only four such permits may be issued to a location per 12-month period. The permit application must be submitted at least 15 days before the event.
I brew my own beer or produce my own wine. What do I need to keep in mind?
New York law does not expressly authorize home brewing without a license. However, a license is required to make beer and wine if it is intended for sale. Also, under federal law, home-brewers can make beer or wine for their own family or personal use, and not for sale, without a license. Therefore, it appears that you can teach Guests how to brew beer or wine at your own home, but Guests shouldn’t be allowed to brew their own batch.
Further, you may not sell Guests any of your home-brewed beer or wine.
That said, we encourage you to check with the New York State Liquor Authority or speak to a lawyer to make sure you are correctly interpreting this exemption and are following your local laws.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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