If it's been said once, it's been said a million times: Buffalo is a drinking city with a football/hockey/lacrosse/partying problem. You don't have to look farther to see that than to any local corner watering hole. In all of my years in Western New York, I can mostly agree with this statement.

Western New York has many clubs and bars that dot the area landscape; with the latest last call time in the state at 4 am, you can be sure that people will party literally all night long. Unfortunately, with such a party culture that we have in the 716, that also means that from time to time, people who should not be drinking alcohol are caught doing just that.

The New York State Liquor Authority is charged with managing the use of alcohol in New York. With that power, they are also responsible for ensuring people who aren't supposed to use it don't.

That often means the SLA is conducting various operations and investigations to make sure that underage people aren't drinking. That recently happened right here in Erie County after the SLA did some underage compliance checks in Erie County.

State Liquor Authority Busts Places Allowing Underage Drinking

Officials from the SLA have had a busy couple of weeks. They conduct several investigations to catch businesses selling or serving alcohol to people not legally old enough to buy alcohol.

On Friday, May 24, 2024, investigators from the SLA visited 11 different Western New York businesses to see if they would sell alcohol to people under 21. Of the 11 firms, 3 of them were alleged to have been caught selling to underage people.

  • TOPS Xpress on Orchard Park Road in West Seneca
  • TOPS Markets on Southwestern Blvd in Orchard Park
  • Southwestern Liquor & Wine on Southwestern Blvd in West Seneca

According to the SLA, businesses charged with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting from $2,500 to $4,000 for a first-time offense. Repeat offenders also face possible suspension or revocation of their licenses. In addition, employees or licensees who sell to minors can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

The SLA conducted several other operations to catch underage drinking and alcohol sales, and quite a few other businesses refused to sell to minors.

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Gallery Credit: Rob Banks

Towns that Ban Alcohol in New York State

Dry towns across the Empire State have no alcohol allowed.

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