When you go to a brewery in New Jersey, before you can taste a sip of beer, you have to take a tour. This has to be done for each and every person that walks in the door every time they come. Coming to the brewery at noon on a Saturday? Take a tour. Coming back Sunday for a beer? Take another tour. This is the redundant cycle that brewery owners, employees, and patrons have to follow in order to have a beer at a brewery in New Jersey.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a Jersey Farm Market and get a growler filled with a great local beer? Nope, not in New Jersey. If you want a growler of your favorite New Jersey beer you will have to visit the brewery or a local bottle shop that has a growler station. What further compounds the issue is that breweries in New Jersey are opened limited hours, with a few exceptions, because they are brewing the beer! Adding additional revenue streams to the local breweries would certainly benefit not only the local brewer, but the New Jersey communities that have breweries in their area. Beer and Wine Tourism is growing at an exponential rate here in South Jersey, and one of the major hinderances involved are the archaic New Jersey Liquor Laws that need to be modernized. Allowing the breweries to have the additional revenue stream will allow them to employ more people, make more beer, and stay open more days of the week which, especially during the Summer months, allows for more people to patronize the local breweries. Most of us who live here in South Jersey have seen how crazy the breweries get on the weekends, so much so that a lot of locals stay away due to the large crowds. It is a simple equation, more revenue=more beer=more hours that a brewery can operate their tasting rooms.
Now the good news. New Jersey Senate Bill 1334, allowing the holder of a limited or restricted brewery license to sell beer in growlers at a seasonal farm market, was amended and reported from committee. The amendments establish that only 32, 64, or 128 ounce growler containers are to be sold and to limit the offering of samples to four three-ounce samples of beer per person of legal age per day.
Also another bill, Assembly Bill 4387, seeks to remove from current law a provision requiring the holder of a limited brewery license to provide a tour of the brewery when selling the brewery’s products for consumption on the licensed premises. On December 12, 2016, the bill was introduced, referred to Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committee’s and is still in Committee as of this writing.
This is great news for the New Jersey brewing community, and the local areas that they are operating in. More people coming to the breweries also helps the local restaurants and shops in the area as well. How can we all help? You can contact your state representatives via email, phone call, or even in-person and let them know that you support both of these bills. As an advocate for the New Jersey Beer Community you should certainly have your voice heard. If you are not sure who your local representatives are, we have provided a link to find then and let your voice as a resident and taxpayer be heard.