It’s hard enough for craft breweries to survive given today’s economic climate. But the rules regulating taprooms in New Jersey may be the worst in the county.
The “Garden State” has long suffered under the most convoluted beer and brewery restrictions overseen by the state’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
You can’t have a beer at a brewery’s taproom without taking a mandatory tour, that’s every time you come in.
Want a snack with that beer? That’s not happening, because craft beer taprooms in New Jersey aren’t allowed to have kitchens let alone offer beverage alternatives like coffee or coke.
Even the size of televisions at brewery taprooms is regulated. Breweries are allowed two and they’d better not be larger than 65 inches or taprooms risk being shut down.
Taproom events are also limited in New Jersey. Musical appearances, open mic or trivia nights, things like that, breweries can’t put on more than 25 annually or chance a visit from THE ABC MAN.
The roots of these overbearing regulations can be traced back to 2012 legislation, that looked to clearly differentiate craft beer taprooms from bars and restaurants that pay considerably more for their liquor licenses. Brewer manufacturer licenses can run around $1,250 to $7,500 annually. Restaurants and bars might have to pay $500,000 or more to serve beer in New Jersey.
But now as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported “a bipartisan group of state legislators is sponsoring bills to loosen restrictions. Sen. Michael Testa (R., Cape May County) called the ‘disastrous’ regulations.”
To add its support the Brewers Guild of New Jersey has initiated a new campaign with 50 of the state’s 141 craft brewers offering Brew Jersey, a 6.4% ABV India Pale Ale IPA to lobby the state legislature to “fix a broken system.”
The recipe for this special IPA is available HERE, and NJ brewers are even inviting out-of-state breweries to brew the beer and donate at least 25% of the proceeds to the Brewers Guild of New Jersey so that it can continue its work “to bring about the regulatory changes so desperately needed at this time.”
Brew Jersey is an important call to action for all craft beer supporters as well as a way to let elected officials know that the laws need to be changed so New Jersey breweries can once again grow and thrive within the state.
Craft beer makes a $1.8 billion economic impact to New Jersey every year, providing a livelihood for every business owner and employee involved.
Each day that these rules persist, New Jersey breweries are stripped of their ability to compete in the marketplace and the opportunity to create and innovate in their industry.
Let’s give them that chance…
(All image credits: Brewers Guild of New Jersey)