Amherst BYOB, alcohol service rules now enforceable with fines

  • Amherst Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 2/14/2020 9:49:22 AM
Modified: 2/14/2020 9:49:10 AM

AMHERST —  Two regulations related to alcohol service adopted by the Board of License Commissioners last year can now be enforced by Amherst officials.

Town Council voted unanimously this week to support penalties associated with violations of the regulations, with $100 fines for the first offense in a calendar year, $200 for the second offense and $300 for third and subsequent offenses.

The regulations affected are the “bring your own bottle,” or BYOB, rule, adopted July 29, and the Alcohol Food Service rule, adopted Sept. 23.

Council Vice President Mandi Jo Hanneke said that while the commission is empowered to write new regulations, it needed council action to have them enforced through noncriminal fines.

“It would be essentially to say noncriminal disposition is an allowable penalty under these regulations,” Hanneke said of the council action.

Under the BYOB regulation, restaurants that have common victualers licenses, or food permits, but lack liquor licenses, can apply for a BYOB designation to give their customers the opportunity to drink their own wine or malt beverages while dining. The law comes with a long list of conditions, with violations including allowing consumption outside the noon to 11 p.m. hours, leaving the establishment with an open container of alcohol and consumption of hard liquor. 

For the alcohol food service, the regulation requires snacks or other food to be available to customers at all times where alcohol is served, and to offer tap water to patrons free of charge. Violations of this may include not allowing customers to bring in outside food or have outside food delivered to the establishment if it is not available on site.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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