Back to the Past – New Jersey ABC Sets Harsh New Restrictions on Breweries
The New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has released long-awaited new restrictions on breweries in the state, shoving craft brewers back to the past by imposing new restrictions on their businesses. The new ABC ruling places restrictions on the number of events a taproom can host annually, puts a cap on special events a brewery can hold, prohibits food trucks at breweries and even prohibits a brewery from selling coffee at taprooms. There are a total of 18 new restrictions that breweries must now comply with.
The ruling has been years in the making and the final outcome was delayed by the pandemic. It’s a complicated and divisive issue, with bars and restaurants on the opposite side as breweries. On-premise alcohol license holders such as bars, taverns and restaurants pay a hefty license fee, upwards of $7,000 per location, while beer manufacturers pay much less. Many in the restaurant trade believe that the popularity of brewery taprooms dilutes the value of their liquor licenses.
There was talk late last week that the New Jersey legislature may bring forward legislation to overrule or modify the ABC directive, but in the meantime, breweries in New Jersey will be forced to curtail many business practices they have been using for years.
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