Liquor auctions have been legalised in New York.

The Distilled Spirits Council, which has been lobbying for the bill, said yesterday (16 August) that the new law, passed by Governor Eliot Spitzer, will allow liquor connoisseurs to bid legally for rare spirits. The first auction, planned by NYWines Christie's, will be held at Christies auction house in the city in December.

Head of Christie's Americas wine sales, Richard Brierley said: "We are currently accepting consignments of vintage Cognac, Armagnac, Scottish, Irish and American whiskies, bourbon and other traditional spirits."

The council said that large amounts of spirits sales had previously been lost to other international auction centres, because spirit auctions have been illegal in New York.

Distilled Spirits Council president Peter Cressy added: "Not only will this accelerate the consumer trend for super premium spirits products, but it will bring new revenue to state coffers. We commend the legislature for passing the bill and Governor Spitzer for signing it into law."

The US Distilled Spirits Council is a national trade association representing distilled spirits brands. Council member products include Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, Tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs.