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NJ craft breweries hope lawmakers change restrictions limiting how they operate

New Jersey breweries are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the law that allows them to sell craft beer to customers.

News 12 Staff

Sep 21, 2022, 2:21 AM

Updated 637 days ago


New Jersey breweries are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the law that allows them to sell craft beer to customers. But at the same time, some of the owners of those breweries are looking for help to stay afloat amid new regulations.
Since the law was passed in 2012, New Jersey’s beer industry has grown 82%. The law created more than 11,000 jobs and has contributed billions of dollars to the economy.
“It allowed us to welcome customers to come in and experience and taste the experience that’s involved here,” says Scott Wells, co-owner of Bolero Snort.
The Carlstadt-based business features a brewery and tasting room. Wells attended the celebration event for the anniversary of the law that basically created the local craft brewing industry in the Garden State.
Democratic state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin also attended the event. He was the sponsor of the original bill. Coughlin promised to re-examine new regulations from Alcohol Beverage Control, which were issued over the summer. Regulations many brewery owners say are too far-reaching and rules that could force some out of business and others out of the state.
“I don’t think people really understand how much damage this is causing to the industry, and we will end up losing breweries before they get it fixed,” Wells says.
Those restrictions control the number of events breweries can host, require tours before beer tastings and even limit the number and size of televisions in the tap rooms.
Bipartisan bills to ease some of those rules have already been introduced.
Wells is on the board of the Brewers Guild of New Jersey. The group met on Tuesday to discuss this matter. Wells says he is trying to be optimistic. But he says he also hopes the promises don’t fall flat.
“[Speaker Coughlin] recognized there is a large need for change and our entire license structure in New Jersey is antiquated and it’s time for revision,” Well says. "I do really wish everyone can sit down and look and say this doesn’t make sense, this is hurting the economy and it’s hurting the manufacturing boom we’re getting from this industry.”
He says they are the only alcoholic producers in New Jersey facing these restrictions. They were approved by the ABC back in 2019, but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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