The New Jersey craft brewery industry has grown significantly since a 2012 law reduced the red tape for starting a brewery in the Garden State.
The 2012 law created a limited brewery license, which, for the first time, allowed breweries to enter the market at a relatively modest price, offer beer sampling, operate a tasting room, sell pints and merchandise onsite, and offer samples of beer. As part of the law, breweries can also sell beer for use outside of the brewery. Prior to the passage of the law, there were only a handful of breweries in New Jersey. However, as a result of the passage of the law, there are now more than 100 breweries operating in the state.
Given the general decline in retail shopping due to internet retail competition, breweries have helped fill empty store fronts and shopping center units.
The growth of the industry has provided many economic benefits to the state and local municipalities. Thousands of new jobs have been created for brewery employees, suppliers and vendors as a result of the increased growth in the industry. Breweries have also helped revitalize downtown retail store fronts and shopping centers. Breweries that intend to maximize onsite tastings and sales often look for a location with foot traffic to drive customers. Given the general decline in retail shopping due to internet retail competition, breweries have helped fill empty store fronts and shopping center units.
One of the restrictions that craft breweries in the state of New Jersey face is actually a boon to restaurants and other eateries. Craft breweries do not have the right to sell or serve food on their premises under the 2012 law. However, patrons are permitted to bring food from a local restaurant into the brewery.
This has helped create synergy between local restaurants and breweries. Along these same lines, brewery patrons can purchase a beer for consumption off site. This allows customers to bring beer home or to a neighboring BYOB restaurant. This has strengthened relationships between BYOB restaurants and breweries located in shopping centers and downtown locations. Local businesses can also promote themselves by leaving takeout and delivery menus at a brewery.
Four Ways Breweries Boost Economic Activity
Breweries bring additional economic activity to their locale, including the ability to hold up to 25 “special events” per year. Special events are those promoted through the media or that provide entertainment in the form of live championship sporting event broadcasts, live amplified music or DJ performances. A special event helps drive traffic to the brewery and other local businesses. Events that are not subject to the 25 per year limit include non-publicized events such as regularly scheduled trivia/quizzo, craft making, animal adoption events, or yoga or similar types of classes. Thus, a brewery can hold regularly scheduled events that provide an additional source of economic activity for the brewery and surrounding businesses.
Breweries also provide new venues for private parties. A brewery in New Jersey can host up to 52 private parties a year. Party hosts are permitted to bring food, wine and beer from outside the brewery to their events, subject to the approval of the brewery. This allows breweries to market their facilities as party venues to individuals who may not want to be limited to drinking craft beer brewed onsite.
Breweries are also allowed to host up to 25 social affair events per year. An organization operating solely for civic, religious, educational, charitable, fraternal, social or recreational purposes, and not for private gain, may apply to for a social affair permit. A social affair permittee is allowed to sell tickets to the event that includes the price of beer, wine, food and entertainment offered at the event. Like the host of a private party, a social affairs permittee is also allowed to bring food, wine and beer from outside the brewery to their events, subject to the approval of the brewery.
A brewery is also allowed to participate in 12 off-premises events per year, such as civic or community events (sponsored by a municipality, county or other public entity), athletic events, anniversary events or holiday celebrations off its licensed premises. At the off-premise event, the brewery is allowed to sell beer by the glass or open container, provide samples, and sell unchilled packaged goods for consumption off the event premises.
Although there are still restrictions for breweries in New Jersey, the current legislation and rules governing breweries are much more appealing than they were prior to 2012. This has resulted in a thriving craft brewery presence, which has helped boost local economies and neighboring businesses.