It’s hard enough for craft breweries to survive given today’s economic climate. But the rules regulating craft beer 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.
In most states, it wouldn’t be a big deal showing the NFL playoffs or the Super Bowl in your taproom. But New Jersey is home to the nation’s worst alcohol regulations including one that considers showing the Super Bowl as a “special event.” And not only can NJ craft breweries hold just 25 special events a year, they have to notify officials within 10 days to throw one.
But for small breweries in nearby New Jersey as soon as they knew the Eagles were in the NFC championship game, they had already missed that 10 day deadline, a buzz-kill for fans who wanted to watch the game in their favorite taproom and a huge economic missed opportunity for the breweries that run them.
“I’m a huge Eagles fan and wanted to show the game,” said Chuck Garrity, owner of Death of the Fox Brewing Company in Clarksboro, NJ told ABC 6.”In order to get permission from the state requires 10 days’ notice for any event. “It really limits our ability to draw in customers on the weekends and especially weekend nights when we would typically have events and live music and things like that.
But on January 26, the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control granted a special waiver, allowing small breweries in New Jersey to show NFL Championship Game in their taprooms but it will still count as one of the venue’s 25 “special events.”
That special ruling also applies to the Super Bowl.
New Jersey’s small brewery regulations rules were imposed to distinguish taprooms from bars and restaurants, which pay much higher prices for liquor licenses.
But New Jersey brewers say these rules disproportionately harm their businesses.
“Breweries are only selling the beer they brew. Sports bars down the street have a multitude of beverage options to their consumers,” Eric Orlando, executive director of the Brewers Guild of New Jersey told Action News. “Plus they have the ability to sell food.”
(Image credits: Brewers Guild of New Jersey)