New Laws Fostering Brewery Startups in Monmouth County
March 17, 2016
Brewery Startups in Monmouth County are growing, largely due to relaxed regulations that New Jersey adopted a few years ago. Some of the areas well-known craft brewers include Kane Brewing Company in Ocean, Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, and Rinn Duin Brewing in Toms River.
In 2012, the state adopted new laws for microbreweries and brewpubs. The amendments increased the allowable annual production for brewpubs holding from 3,000 barrels to 10,000. The changes also authorized brewpubs holding a Restricted Brewery License to sell and distribute their beer to licensed wholesalers, whereas previously the beer could only be sold at an adjoining restaurant. With the grant of additional retail consumption licenses, a company can now operate as many as ten brewpubs in New Jersey.
The changes also impacted microbreweries holding a Limited Brewery License. Craft brewers can now sell beer for consumption on the premises in connection with a brewery tour, where they were previously limited to providing free four once samples. Patrons can also purchase 15.5 gallons or less (roughly a keg) for off premises consumption, which is a significantly increase over the two six-packs allowed under the prior law.
The license application fees for the Limited Brewery License range from $1,250 to $7,500 and are dependent upon production capacity. The fee to apply for a Restricted License is $1,250, with an additional $250 due for every 1,000 barrels produced beyond the initial 1,000 barrels.
Since the new laws took effect, the New Jersey craft beer industry has grown significantly, although it had really had nowhere to go but up. There are more than 40 production breweries and 15 brewpubs currently operating in New Jersey, with many more startups preparing to launch. By comparison, there were eight breweries in the state prior to the law change. Despite the growth, the Brewers Association still ranks New Jersey 48th among the 50 states and District of Columbia in breweries per capita.
Legislation is also currently pending that would allow further expansion of New Jersey breweries. One bill (Assembly Bill 1951) would allow brew pubs to annually sell and distribute up to 1,000 barrels of malt alcoholic beverages to State-licensed retailers and retailers licensed in other states. Under current law, a restricted brewery is required to be operated in conjunction with an adjoining restaurant. In addition, any beer that its brewed may only be delivered to that restaurant premises and to licensed wholesalers.
Other measures under consideration would create new ways for breweries to market and sell their products. One bill allows the holder of a limited or restricted brewery license to sell beer at a community farm market. Additional legislation would require the Division of Travel and Tourism to advertise and promote tours of breweries in the state.