NEW JERSEY — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle introduced legislation this week that would adjust New Jersey’s restrictions on microbreweries. Industry leaders say legislators’ efforts come at a time when businesses’ on-the-ground activities are restricted and businesses are at risk.
The New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued several restrictions on breweries on July 1, restricting on-site events and allowing only patrons who have taken a tour of the brewery. We have requested the establishment to allow the product to be consumed on the premises. Read more: New New Jersey restrictions put microbreweries at risk, industry says
The edict was born in a long-running battle between the microbreweries and the bar/restaurant industry. New Jersey’s microbrewery scene has grown rapidly in recent years, with many becoming as much community hubs as bars. However, brewery-only licenses have different privileges than bars and restaurants, and often come at a lower price than bars and restaurants pay for licenses that allow alcohol consumption on their premises.
A bipartisan group of state senators introduced a bill this week that would remove some of ABC’s restrictions on microbreweries. The bill would eliminate agency limits on the number of on-site special and private events that breweries can hold in a calendar year. An ABC decree limits breweries to 25 onsite events and 52 private parties per year.
The law also removes prohibitions that prevent breweries from working with local food vendors and prevent establishments from brewing and selling coffee on site.
“New Jersey is home to a vibrant craft beer industry, and the state should work to promote that growth, not stifle it,” said Senator Bin Gopal, D-11. . “This law provides a more equitable regulatory framework for the state’s craft breweries and facilitates collaboration between breweries and other homegrown producers in the state.”
Another bill from two Republican senators would allow limited-brewery license holders to hold unlimited on-site special events and up to 18 off-site special events per year according to the permit. , eliminating the requirement that customers must take a tour before consuming alcohol at the brewery.
In addition, the Republican-sponsored bill would allow wineries to produce malt alcoholic beverages for retail sale to consumers for consumption outside of their licensed premises, while new licensees would license those same alcoholic beverages establish a farm brewing license that permits the production and sale of
State Senate Republican Majority Leader Stephen Orojo (Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican) Leader (Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican) Stephen Orojo (Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican) , Republican) party leader said, “smaller brewers across the state have contributed tremendously to New Jersey’s economy, created jobs, and helped revitalize our downtown districts.” , which is preventing local brew pubs from attracting customers and making money, and this bill would remove some of the new restrictions, Trenton should help small businesses instead of crushing them with unfair rules. .”
According to the new rules, repeat customers are not required to join a tour if they have taken a tour within the past year. However, they must complete one each year and businesses must document that they have done so. New restrictions on breweries also include:
- We do not sell food or work with local food vendors. Microbreweries can offer menus for local restaurants, but cannot have an exclusive relationship with them. Microbreweries can only serve “de minimis” type foods, such as nuts and packaged crackers.
- Microbreweries can only have two TV screens, no larger than 65 inches. Companies with more than one screen can only use extras to display information about the brewery and its products.
- Happy hours, special priced beverages, the brewing of specialty cocktails, and the brewing or sale of coffee are prohibited on the premises.
New Jersey had the fastest growing craft beer scene in the country from 2015 to 2018, according to C&R Research. During that time, New Jersey’s craft beer industry grew 43%, with craft and microbreweries increasing their presence in the state and nationally.
ABC originally attempted to impose the new restrictions in September 2018, but paused after a month following protests from the industry.
The Brewers Guild of New Jersey, a trade group representing craft breweries and brewpubs, says the new regulations are hurting small businesses.
Guild executive director Eric Orlando said in late June, “Our Guild recognizes the need for reforms to sustain the growth of the local beer industry in the wake of the Murphy administration’s pandemic. “We look forward to future regulations issued by the NJABC…use our recommendations to the benefit of the dozens of small businesses that make up the state’s craft beer industry.” please.”