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Local winery losing ‘before and after dinner crowd’ due to NYS alcohol service rule

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local wineries are adapting to the new state rule stating customers of bars and restaurants must buy food with all alcohol purchases.

Colleen Hardy is the owner of Living Roots Winery in Rochester. She said this news was surprising but there was no other option but to figure out how to make it work. She said they already offered some food, but only small bites like olives and chips.

“Now we’re basically having each table order one of our cheese and charcuterie boards which are substantial, basically a deconstructed sandwich it has all the bread and meat and cheese,” said Hardy.

While the charcuterie boards pair perfectly with the wine, ordering them doesn’t necessarily pair well with every customer’s plans.

“It is a little bit of a change to be requiring people to order something where as before they might’ve come in and did a tasting flight before or after dinner when they’ve already eaten or aren’t hungry.”

Hardy said she’s noticed business is slower since the new rule took effect.

“Especially the past couple of days where as if somebody’s going out for dinner on a Friday or Saturday night they may have come here for a drink first, now they don’t necessarily want to eat at two places so maybe they’re going straight to the restaurant for that drink.”

She said while everyone has been nice about ordering food, she’s busy coming up with other ways to accommodate everyone.

“We were talking maybe for that after dinner crowd work with Scratch to have cake or some sort of dessert offering.”

Living Roots has both a manufacturing license and a tavern license, meaning they fall under the same rules as restaurants and bars. She said as of a couple days ago, wineries with only manufacturing licenses could offer small snacks as food.

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