NEW JERSEY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
|FOR RELEASE: Oct. 17, 2018
|ASSEMBLY MAJORITY OFFICE
|ASSEMBLY MINORITY OFFICE
Assemblymen Howarth, DeAngelo Introduce Bill Protecting Rights of Microbreweries
(TRENTON) – In a bi-partisan effort to support the growth of microbreweries, Assemblymen Joe Howarth (R-8) and Wayne DeAngelo (D-14) introduced legislation Monday to eliminate the requirement for microbreweries to provide a tour to patrons and would allow breweries to hold or attend an unlimited number of events, among other things.
The legislation (A-4594) was brought about following restrictions implemented by the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control on the state’s growing craft brewery industry last month that would’ve significantly limited its economic future.
“In true New Jersey fashion, the state attempted to squash one of its fastest growing industries by hitting it with over-burdening regulations. We can’t let the state ruin a good thing before we ever get to see the fully realized potential of it,” said Howarth.
The regulations, which were quickly overturned by the Division, put restrictions on core economic drivers of the brewery industry, such as limiting the amount of events they are allowed to have within their place of business and the amount of off-premises events they could attend.
“Operating a business requires a lot of planning and foresight. We need to make it as clear and easy as possible for business owners in New Jersey to understand what they need to do in order to be successful,” DeAngelo said. “Like with all businesses, local craft breweries need clear and steady guidelines that allow them to grow, innovate, and support their communities. This bill would provide microbreweries with a roadmap to do just that.”
The bill would allow owners of a limited brewery license to hold an unlimited amount of on-premises and off-premises events without being required to obtain a permit from the Division. It would also eliminate the requirement to provide a tour to patrons and allow the sale of water, soda and unprepared snacks, as well as coordinate with a food vendor to provide food on the premises and provide menus to consumers.
Howarth was prompted to act on the issue at a state level after hearing from local representatives in his district about the importance of providing the industry with clear guidelines. Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs was among the most vocal proponents. Following the restrictive ruling by the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, she directed the Freeholder Board to pass a resolution urging the Division to immediately withdraw the regulations.
“I thank the very terrific local brewery community in the area and vocal officials like Freeholder Director Gibbs for coming forward and giving us a true sense of how damaging the open-ended possibility of tighter regulations could be on the future of these small businesses,” Howarth said.
“It’s hard for any small business to thrive in a climate where it doesn’t even know the daily forecast. I’m glad we’re working on giving them clear-cut legislation to base their operations off of,” he continued.