Wine Shops Must Close At 7pm In Dutchess County - Artisan Wine Shop Is Petitioning That - Wants Later Hours

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

UPDATE 4/4/2019: Artisan’s petition supports a resolution that Dutchess County Legislator Frits Zernike has authored, which requests that the law be changed to allow wine and liquor stores to remain open longer. Read more about that resolution - being presented on Thursday, April 4 - here.

If you’ve ever sauntered to Artisan Wine Shop on a summer evening, only to be met with a “Closed” sign at 7:30 pm, it’s not because they want to call it a night. Wine and liquor stores in Dutchess County are not allowed to stay open past 7 pm. Many people leaving their desk in New York City, Westchester County or Poughkeepsie (or anywhere else that involves extended commute times) often arrive home after 7 pm. Which means they are not able to shop for wine after 7 pm.

Currently, the hours of retail sale of wine and liquor in Dutchess County are restricted to 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays (defined as Monday to Saturday), and 9 am to 10 am on New Year’s, Memorial, Independence, Labor, and Thanksgiving days. You read that right - one hour on those holidays. “We usually don’t even open on Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, or the Fourth of July,” said a staff member from Artisan Wine Shop when A Little Beacon Blog called to confirm the one-hour holiday policy on those days.

People can, however, walk down to a wine bar, like Chill or Oak Vino, who can be open late into the night. Or, people could stop into a beer shop, like Beacon Craft Beer Shoppe next door to Key Food, to stock up on creatively brewed craft beer. People could decide to patronize any of the growing number of craft breweries in the area, like Two Way Brewing or Hudson Valley Brewing Company. While you’re at it, a person could even go to a whiskey distillery tasting room, like Dennings Point Distillery by Rite Aid, to sip a little and listen to live music late at night.

The Fight To Extend Open Hours For Wine and Liquor Stores Continues

Crossroads Wine and Spirit in Fishkill asked local government to extend Open hours in 2014, as it was hurting their business to close at 7pm. They have since closed this location.

Crossroads Wine and Spirit in Fishkill asked local government to extend Open hours in 2014, as it was hurting their business to close at 7pm. They have since closed this location.

Wine and liquor stores have tried to change this in the past. Crossroads Wine and Spirit in Fishkill wrote an email in 2014 to local government, asking that it reconsider the early closing time, especially considering other counties in New York had later closing times. In 2015, a resolution went through Beacon, asking Dutchess County to reconsider the early closing time (see resolution PDFs here). From Beacon’s 2015 Resolution to Dutchess County:

“The City Council of the City of Beacon hereby requests the Dutchess County Board of Legislators recognize the current County liquor store closing hours create an inconvenience to County residents, visitors to the County and it is also detrimental to the business owners and taxpayers, as it forces dollars that would otherwise be spent in Duchess County to be spent elsewhere and that therefore, the hours of operation for liquor stores on Monday through Saturday be permitted to be from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.”

Today - People and Businesses Continue To Want Wine and Liquor Stores Open Longer

Inside of Artisan Wine Shop.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Inside of Artisan Wine Shop.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Now it’s March 2019, and there is a stack of signatures on a petition on the counter at Artisan Wine Shop, asking Dutchess County to let wine and liquor shops stay open until at least 9 pm.

From Artisan Wine Shop’s petition, supporters from all over Dutchess County - not just Beacon - are encouraged to write to their county legislators, both to the General legislature email address, and to one’s own county legislator directly.

From the petition: “We're asking Dutchess County residents to email the Dutchess County Legislature to make the biggest impact. And please forward this to your family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the county (as many outside of Beacon as possible too!).“

Emails To Send Open Hour Extension Requests To:

  • General legislature address: CountyLegislature@DutchessNY.gov

  • For Beacon: fzernike@dutchessny.gov or npage@dutchessny.gov

Artisan Wine Shop is located at 180 Main Street, Beacon, NY. And they’re only open until 7 pm, so plan accordingly.

Dutchess County Taxes Likely To Decrease Again

The proposed Dutchess County 2019 budget was released, as first reported by the Beacon Free Press in their October 31, 2018, issue. It consists of a reduction of the county property tax levy for a fifth consecutive year, and cuts the property tax rate for homeowners and businesses for the fourth straight year, while maintaining county services and programs, according to the 2019 Dutchess County Budget Proposal news release. New initiatives have been introduced, addressing addiction and mental health, services for youth in foster care, as well as continued funding for ThinkDIFFERENTLY events and programs, senior services, infrastructure improvements, and shared services.

According to the news release: “The 2019 property tax levy (amount collected countywide from property taxes) proposed in the Executive Budget is $106,350,769, down nearly $28,000 from 2018, representing the fifth consecutive property tax levy decrease. If the budget proposal is approved by the County Legislature, property taxpayers will see a 2.6% reduction in the tax rate on their property tax bill, for the fourth straight year, with the rate decreasing from $3.54 to $3.45 per $1,000 of true value assessments. Total 2019 appropriations equal $502,154,287, a 2.96% increase over 2018.”

Dutchess County has a AA+ credit rating by Standard & Poor’s. “Dutchess ranks in the top tier of financially well-managed county governments, with only one county statewide having a higher S&P bond rating,” according to the news release, which gives further breakdown.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “A reflection of several years of conservative spending practices, this 2019 Executive Budget again seeks to serve our residents’ best interests, providing continued tax relief while maintaining the level of high-quality services on which our neighbors rely.”

Economic Development Coming Largely From Arts and Tourism Investment

“Dutchess County’s local economy has been strengthened by a multitude of economic development and tourism efforts,” according to the news release. Poughkeepsie and Beacon send their sales tax directly to Dutchess County in a 10-year agreement which began in 2014. Beacon’s agreement will be up for renewal in 2024. The agreement has helped improve public transportation in Beacon, most recently by making it free to ride the G Loop Bus, which picks up people from the Beacon Train Station and takes them almost anywhere they want to go in downtown Beacon. The bus route has been rebranded as the Beacon Free Loop in a partnership with the City of Beacon and BeaconArts. The Beacon Free Loop is free to riders, and runs Monday to Saturday from 6 pm to 9 pm.

Financial situations credited with helping Dutchess County, as cited in the news release, include:

  • 12 consecutive months of private-sector job growth

  • Lowest unemployment rate in the region

  • Projects totaling $2.9 billion currently in design

  • Projects totaling $3.9 billion currently under construction

  • More than 4.75 million annual visitors to Dutchess County

  • Eighth consecutive year of tourism spending growth, now totaling over $601 million

  • $19 million in annual direct spending is attributable to the arts

Funding For Tourism and The Arts Continues

The budget states the following continued investments into tourism and the arts:

  • Continued funding of just over $450,000 for the Th!nk Dutchess Alliance for Business.

  • Over $1.635 million investment in Dutchess Tourism, Inc. for tourism and arts promotion, an 8% increase. (Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency [DCIDA] funding: $1.062 million; county funding: $574,000 for total of $1,635,660 tourism funding investment)

  • Increased funding for Arts Mid-Hudson, totaling over $300,000, through the DCIDA, that will support 19 arts organizations including the iconic Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie.

  • Continued $15,000 funding, through the DCIDA, for the Hudson Valley Film Commission, which reported over $8.5 million in direct regional film spending for 2016, more than 50% of which was spent in Dutchess County.

More Investments Into Opioid Addiction, Mental Health, Youth In Foster Care Services

Dutchess County continues their focus on addressing the opioid crisis, and will use a federal Department of Justice grant to give more tools to understand and track the opioid crisis in Dutchess County. Additionally, the 2019 budget proposes to make two critical positions permanent – an Opioid Educator and a Recovery Coach. The Recovery Coach has experienced recovery themselves, and currently has a nearly 80% success rate of helping addicts reach the next stage of recovery, according to the news release. Dutchess County continues to invest in foster care programs “to improve well-being outcomes for children in foster care,” according to the news release.

Look For Access To These Services

According to the news release, money has been allocated for the following:

  • Money for Shared Services: Commitment to shared services and consolidation continues in 2019 with $1 million budgeted for the Municipal Innovation Grant program.

  • Money for Community Agencies: The Agency Partner Grant (APG) program will have $1 million allocated for community agencies to address specific needs in the community through a competitive application process, funding 20 agencies expected to serve 25,000 people.

  • Infrastructure: $25 million in infrastructure investment, including replacement or repair of 13 bridges, 20 miles of paving and 9,000 miles of snow plowing.

  • Domestic Violence Prevention: Over $3 million for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and response.

  • Seniors’ Activities: Office for the Aging will transition to its new facility in Poughkeepsie. The new space will serve as the City of Poughkeepsie Senior Friendship Center, and allow for expanded senior activities and programs, as well as a new kitchen that will increase efficiency of the home-delivered meal program that serves nearly 2,000 seniors.

  • Veterans Services: Expansion of the “Wheels to Work” program will include additional vehicles for veterans to help ensure access to health care, employment and education services.

  • Public School Resource Officer: Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer program has been expanded to include seven school districts, with 10 officers and one supervisor.

  • Dutchess Community College: Continued support of Dutchess Community College, with an additional $1.75 million in funding support in 2019.

Town Hall Meetings Scheduled To Discuss Budget

The following Town Hall meetings are/were scheduled to discuss the county budget:

  • Pawling Village Hall, 9 Memorial Ave., Pawling, on Monday, November 19, at 1 pm

  • Rhinebeck Starr Library, 68 West Market St., Rhinebeck, on Tuesday, November 20 at 6 pm

  • Stanford Town Hall, 26 Route 82, Stanfordville, on Monday, November 26 at 6 pm

  • Town of Poughkeepsie Senior Center, 14 Abes Way, Poughkeepsie, on Wednesday, December 5 at 6 pm