New Jersey craft breweries battle overwhelming taproom regulations

New Jersey craft breweries battle overwhelming taproom regulations

In today’s economic climate, it’s hard enough for craft breweries to survive. But the rules governing New Jersey taprooms may be the worst in the country.

The “Garden State” has long suffered from the most complicated beer and brewery restrictions overseen by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

You can’t have a beer in a brewery’s taproom without taking a mandatory tour, that’s every time you come in.

Want a snack with that beer? That doesn’t happen, because craft beer taprooms in New Jersey aren’t allowed to have kitchens, let alone offer beverage alternatives like coffee or cola.

The size of televisions in brewery taprooms is also regulated. Breweries are allowed two and they’d better not be taller than 65 inches or taprooms risk being closed.

Taproom events are also limited in New Jersey. Musical performances, open mic or quiz nights, that kind of thing, breweries can’t host more than 25 a year or risk a visit from THE ABC MAN.

The roots of these over-the-top regulations can be traced back to 2012 legislation aimed at clearly distinguishing craft beer taprooms from bars and taprooms, which pay significantly more for their spirits licenses. Brewery maker licenses can range from $1,250 to $7,500 annually. Restaurants and bars may have to pay $500,000 or more to serve beer in New Jersey

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “a bipartisan group of state lawmakers is supporting legislation to ease restrictions. Sen. Michael Testa (R., Cape May County) called the regulations ‘catastrophic’.”

New Jersey craft breweries battle overwhelming taproom regulations

To add their support, the Brewers Guild of New Jersey has launched a new campaign involving 50 of the state’s 141 craft brewers Jersey brewan India Pale Ale IPA at 6.4% ABV to nudge the state legislature to “fix a broken system.”

The recipe for this special IPA is available HERE, and NJ brewers are even inviting out-of-state breweries to brew the beer and donate at least 25% of the proceeds to the Brewers Guild of New Jersey so they can honor their work “to the regulators.” bring about changes that are so badly needed at this time.”

Jersey brew is an important call to action for all craft beer advocates, as well as a way to let elected officials know that laws need to be changed to allow New Jersey breweries to once again thrive and thrive within the state.

Craft beer has a $1.8 billion economic impact on New Jersey each year, providing a livelihood for every business owner and employee involved.

Each day that these rules continue, New Jersey breweries are robbed of their ability to compete in the marketplace and the ability to create and innovate in their industry.

Let’s help give them that chance…


(All photo credits: Brewers Guild of New Jersey)