HUDSON - A city brewing company was charged and had its liquor license suspended after reopening illegally and allowing dozens of customers to gather in defiance of state mandates to reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, officials said Friday.
The state Liquor Authority issued an emergency license suspension for the Hudson River Brewing LLC, operating as "Hudson Brewing" at 99 S. Third St., and charged the company with several violations Thursday, including failure to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 executive orders relating to restaurant restrictions and failure to supervise the licensed premises, according to a statement Friday from the authority.
Liquor Authority investigators discovered 27 people drinking in and near Hudson Brewing on May 22 during a surprise, undercover visit to the local farm brewery. Some patrons were near the entrance while others tailgated, according to the authority.
Investigators entered the brewery and were served alcoholic beverages in unsealed plastic cups without food and customers were allowed to linger or congregate in and around the building, according to a statement from the authority. Both violate the authority's and state guidelines permitted under Cuomo's executive order.
Hudson Brewing's liquor license permitted on-premises alcohol sales and was summarily suspended. Bars and restaurants statewide are restricted to delivery or take-out under Cuomo's 10-point NY On Pause order, which shuttered schools and nonessential businesses March 19 to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a special meeting of the full board Friday conducted by a digitally recorded video conference call per state social distancing guidelines. Boardmembers do not have confidence the licensee will follow the NY On Pause order going forward.
“Despite prior warnings, this licensee continued to defy the governor’s executive order and flout every guideline the SLA has put in place to keep people safe,” SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley said in a statement Friday. “Now is not the time to become complacent, and the SLA will not hesitate to take immediate action against licensees whose actions threaten to derail the progress our state has made.”
Three days earlier, Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson and Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore warned Hudson Brewing owners about complying with state COVID-19 mandates after officials received numerous complaints. The Hudson Brewing Company Facebook page posted a photo of patrons congregating to drink outside, on premises, without enforcing social distancing, according to the authority.
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a state agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety or welfare requires emergency action. When the authority summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the authority has reviewed the violation and deemed it serious to warrant an immediate suspension, according to the authority.
The authority's decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination. The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an administrative law judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until modified by authority or a reviewing court.