#JerseyFreshBeer – talk your Senators!

Beer is progressing here in New Jersey. Laws that were introduced before many local New Jersey residents were drinking beer need to be modified. In 2012 a few laws were changed and new legislation introduced to modify some of those ridiculously antiquated anti small business rules and now it’s time to make even more changes to continue the growth of craft beer here in New Jersey.

Here’s how you can help and even if you are not a NJCB Member, you are reading this so you obviously like craft beer. Write to your senators and help to promote the following laws so we can drink more local, fresh Jersey beer all over our state. With almost 50+ production breweries and 15+ brewpubs and 30+ startups, we need to unite and tell the New Jersey government that we want to drink locally and support our local businesses.

  • A-1949 / S-1334 – Permits certain breweries to sell beer at community farm markets.
  • A-1950 / S-1335 – Allows consumption of food on limited brewery premises.
  • A-1951 / S-1337 – Authorizes restricted breweries to annually sell up to 1,000 barrels of beer to in-state and out-of-state retailers.

More in depth can be found after this link to contact your Senate. Tweet this out using #NJCB and #JerseyFreshBeer!





The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild (www.njbeer.org) is an association made up of over 85 licensed breweries, breweries-in-planning and other affiliated businesses and organizations banning together to form a voice for craft beer in New Jersey. The Guild represents both types of craft beer licenses in New Jersey: limited license breweries (“microbrewery”) and restricted license breweries (“brewpub”).

Microbreweries produce small batches of beer for sale to wholesalers, liquor stores, bars and restaurants both inside and outside New Jersey. Microbreweries are now allowed to sell up to 1/2 keg (or approximately 6 cases) of beer at the brewery for consumption off-premise. Also, as part of a brewery educational tour, consumers are allowed to sample beer and purchase it for consumption on premise. Microbreweries are not allowed to sell food on premise.

Brewpubs are restaurants that produce small batches of craft brewed on site and may sell their own beer by the glass for consumption on premise. They may also sell their beer for carry out in bottles, re-sealable jugs known as “growlers” and in kegs. Brewpubs are allowed to sell their beer off the premises to licensed retailers throughout the state through a New Jersey beer wholesaler. Brewpubs must also own a retail consumption license to sell their beer to a customer at a brewpub for either on premise or off-premise consumption.


About the Legislation


A-1949 (Coughlin / O’Scanlon / Rumana / Holley / Andrzejczak) / S-1334 (Kean, Jr.) – Permits certain breweries to sell beer at community farm markets.

The Guild is pursuing legislation enabling both state-licensed microbreweries and brewpubs the ability to market their beer directly to consumers at farmers’ markets statewide. Today, state licensed wineries are afforded this right and can sell bottles of wine directly to consumers at farmers’ markets. The Guild would like to afford New Jersey’s licensed breweries a similar right. The Guild believes that local breweries are an emerging part of the state’s agro-tourism industry and can impact NJ farms and farmer’s market vendors in a positive way.

The bill permits the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (NJABC) to issue a permit to the holder of a limited or restricted brewery license to sell beer at a community farm market. This permit would be site-specific, need local approval and cost $75 each annually.  As currently drafted, the bill defines a “community farm market” as two or more producers or farmers who assemble at a location used seasonally for the wholesale or retail marketing and sale of the agricultural output of a farm, and products that contribute to farm income, excluding roadside farm stands. Other states, most recently California (September 2014), Maryland (July 2014), and Washington (July 2013), have allowed in-state licensed breweries to sell their beer at farm markets. The Guild envisions beer being poured fresh from a tap/draft system and sold by the “growler” for “at home” consumption. While breweries would be able to offer samples of their beer at a community farmers market, the Guild does not support beer sales “by the glass” for consumption onsite at a community farmers market.


A-1950 (Coughlin / Lagana / Holley / Andrzejczak) / S-1335 (Kean, Jr.) – Allows consumption of food on limited brewery premises.

The Guild has decided to pursue a clarification to changes made in 2012 that restricts the consumption of food by visitors during their visit. Currently, a microbrewery is prohibited under current law from selling food or operating a restaurant on their licensed premises. Under this bill, consumers would be allowed to consume food on the licensed premises of a microbrewery, but the brewery itself would still not be able to sell food to a visitor.

This issue has come to the forefront due in part due to mixed interpretations by local businesses, state regulators and local law enforcement. Out-of-state breweries, especially in neighboring states, often feature food as part of the overall tourist experience, with some states like Pennsylvania actually requiring food to be available for purchase at a microbrewery. While Guild members themselves don’t want to cook and sell food at their breweries, they feel that it is important and actually responsible on their part as retailers of alcoholic beverages, to allow food consumption on their premise. With nearby out-of-state breweries in direct competition with New Jersey breweries, Guild members are concerned they will soon be at a disadvantage should state regulators decide to completely ban food consumption at breweries.


A-1951 (Coughlin / O’Scanlon / Rumana / Holley / Andrzejczak) / S-1337 (Kean, Jr.) – Authorizes restricted breweries to annually sell up to 1,000 barrels of beer to in-state and out-of-state retailers.

In 2012, brewpubs for the first time gained the ability to sell their beer off their own licensed premise as long as it is done through a state-licensed wholesaler. This privilege was fought for by the Guild, and agreed to by the beer wholesale industry. Since the signing of the original legislation, no brewpub has signed with a wholesaler in the New Jersey. The Guild believes this has occurred mainly due to a lack of interest by wholesalers to commit to carrying brewpub beer for financial and logistical reasons. While the Guild understands the position of wholesalers regarding the viability of carrying brewpub beer, brewpubs still want the ability to sell some of their beer from venues off their licensed premise.

It should be noted that both state wineries and limited (“microbrewery”) licensees have the ability to self-distribute their products. Also, several NJ microbreweries who once self-distributed their beer have signed on with wholesalers who eventually expressed an interest in carrying their products because of a solid track record of sales developed through self-distribution. If brewpubs were allowed to self-distribute a limited amount of their beer to outside retail outlets, the Guild expects similar results to the benefit of the state’s craft beer industry and consumers alike.

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3 thoughts on “#JerseyFreshBeer – talk your Senators!”

  1. I recently went to a local restaurant that have been going to for years, they are a byob establishment but are now offering wine from a local winery for sale. While the restaurant is byob the winery has a permit to offer their wine for sale there. Again why the double standard, NJ needs to wake and allow local brewerys to do the same.

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