Report: 10 Chautauqua County Establishments Sold Alcohol To Minors

Ten locations in Chautauqua County, including convenience stores, bars and liquor stores, sold alcohol to minors during a three-month investigation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Altogether, more than 140 establishments across the state reportedly sold alcohol to minors in the statewide sweep by the state Liquor Authority and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In addition, DMV investigators arrested 271 people under the age of 21 attempting to use false identification to purchase alcohol. Of those statewide, 24 arrests were reportedly made at Old Main Inn, Sunny’s Bar and Muldoons, all in Fredonia, Cuomo announced.

The sweeps occurred in August, September and October. The liquor authority sent underage decoys into 506 establishments across the state. It was found that 141 of the restaurants, bars, grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores had sold alcohol to the minors.

“Underage drinking can lead to bad decisions and dangerous situations that can have lifelong consequences or needless tragedy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Through on-going enforcement efforts, we will continue to crack down on this dangerous behavior and target businesses that break the law by selling to minors and underage adults.”

In total, the liquor authority conducted 41 underage details in 30 counties, with investigators sending underage decoys into 506 locations holding liquor licenses, including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, convenience stores and liquor stores. The decoys were able to purchase alcohol at 141 businesses listed here. The 365 businesses refusing to sell to underage decoys are listed here.

During the investigations, investigators entered the licensed premises separately from the undercover minor to observe and verify when illegal transactions occurred. Licensees charged by the SLA with underage sales face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, with fines starting from $2,500 to $3,000 for a first-time offense. Repeat offenders also face potential suspension or revocation of their licenses.

The fake identifications seized during these arrests were from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Delaware, California, Ohio, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Florida.

The crackdown is part of Operation Prevent, a DMV initiative conducted all year long that targets not only bars and drinking establishments, but concerts, events and other underage hot spots. During an Operation Prevent sting, DMV investigators work with the SLA and law enforcement to check identification documents. Patrons found to be using fake IDs can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year.

Vincent G. Bradley, Chairman of the New York State Liquor Authority, said, “Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors remains a priority for the SLA. These large-scale enforcement efforts with our partners at the DMV and local law enforcement will continue to be part of our proactive measures to prevent alcohol abuse among our youth.”

Area stores the state says sold alcohol to decoys includes:

• Country Fair Store, 10358 Bennett Road, Fredonia

• Caves Food Center, 35 Main St., Forestville

• Big Ricks One Stop, 327 Lake Shore Drive E, Dunkirk

• Save A Lot, 1364 Route 20, Silver Creek

• Farm Winery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars, 8398 West Route 20, Westfield

• Quincey Cellars, 10606 W. Main Road, Ripley

• Kettle & Keg, 243 Lake Shore Drive E, Dunkirk

• Spike Daileys, 18 Central Ave., Dunkirk

• When Pigs Fly Bbq Pit, 8254 First St., Westfield

• T W Biggins Wine & Spirits, 47 E. Main St., Westfield

In Cattaraugus County, the following sold alcohol to minors:

• Eville Spirits, 10 Monroe St., Ellicottville

• Steelbound Brewery and Distillery, 6660 Route 16, Ellicottville