New Jersey vs. Breweries
New Jersey breweries are under attack (again). I’m sure that many of you have already seen the news but for those who haven’t – the NJ Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) bureaucrats have re-levied a series of pre-covid, super-restrictive rules against breweries; rules that only exist to protect the massive restaurant lobby. The ABC rules are several and arbitrary in nature. Breweries in PA has a small write up (here) detailing the new restrictions.
In laymen’s terms, the rules will restrict breweries from hosting fun events like food trucks and live music as frequently as we’re accustomed to. The ABC has taken it upon themselves to regulate entertainment; they are the quintessential “fun police.” It’s also important to note that there will be collateral damage impacting your community. Several artists, musicians, vendors (food, clothing, etc.) will also feel the pinch of these archaic laws.
what YOU can do
If left unchecked, the ABC will continue to overstep their jurisdiction and they will continue to damage or even destroy our local small breweries. So please take a few minutes to review the pre-canned letter (below), fill in the blanks, and send it to your representatives (CLICK HERE TO FIND YOURS!).
To Our Elected Officials:
My name is (name here) and I am a resident of (town), NJ. I am contacting you today to express my deep concern over the recent Special Ruling imposed upon some of my favorite local businesses by the NJ Division of Alcohol Beverage Control.
On Friday, July 1st, every brewery in the state was hit with a long list of restrictions on their license by the NJABC, which won’t only negatively impact my experience, but stands to negatively harm the breweries. More so than that, though, is the wide-reaching negative impact it will have on all of the local artisans and community groups that have come to rely on the breweries as venues for shows, parties, shops, etc.
It is obvious in reading the ruling itself, as well as the copious amount of (negative) press it has received, and the reactions from breweries, that this will financially harm these small local businesses. These economic drivers and community centers, who are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, may not survive unless actions are taken to end these restrictions as soon possible. Many are already discussing layoffs, changes of hours, and worse.
The NJABC states “equal opportunity for businesses” and protecting the value of liquor licenses in making this ruling. This overreaching and biased Special Ruling is doing the opposite of that, creating an economic imbalance that goes beyond Breweries, and attacks artisans all over the State. Innocent people, who rely on breweries for their livelihoods. People who chose to be there because opportunities were not elsewhere. Restaurants are not given the rights to “special events,” in their licenses, and especially not exclusivity. They are, in fact, never mentioned in their licensing. So why can exclusive rights be interpreted into one, and out of the other?
The NJABC’s “tell” that this is a bias decision is that this ruling applies only to our breweries, and not Wineries or Distilleries, who are able to continue these events, but have similar licenses. The NJABC is specifically targeting our breweries by fabricating a prohibitive interpretation not mentioned in any of the State’s licenses at the behest of powerful lobbyist. We need just look over the river, to the west, at Pennsylvania, who is welcoming our breweries in with open arms, competition be damned, or to the east, at New York, with unlimited liquor licenses and thriving breweries. The two are not competitors. Both industries deserve to thrive, without the State fabricating economic restrictions, or stepping on their throats, silencing free speech with restrictions on how they can advertise.
Therefore, I am asking you to voice your opposition to these license conditions and implore you to work towards ending them now! Also, I am asking you to support state legislation immediately to end these restrictions permanently so that the state’s craft beer industry can continue grow and recover, and I can continue to enjoy New Jersey craft beer at our state’s local breweries.