A new bill in New Jersey was introduced last week which would amend the 2012 law that established microbreweries in the state and governs their operations and restrictions.

This is the first attempt so far to legislatively address the craft brewing industry after a special ruling was issued by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) which implemented restrictions on events and other brewery operations. The ruling was suspended indefinitely only a week later after significant public backlash from both brewers and state government officials.

Continue Reading New NJ Bill Aims to End Craft Brewery Tours & Add Food Vendors

On September 24, 2018, a special ruling issued by New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) limited the type of activities that New Jersey craft breweries were allowed to conduct. Only a week later, the ruling has been indefinitely suspended due to public outcry.

The ruling affected the 88 limited breweries already in existence as well as 23 operations that have applications pending. However, the ruling was met with significant criticism and backlash from brewers as well as state government officials, and just a week later the ABC announced that it would be suspending the ruling. The suspension will remain in effect until ABC meets with craft breweries, alcoholic beverage license holders, and lawmakers to iron out new regulations, whether they come through the division itself or new legislation.

Continue Reading Special Ruling Aimed at Restricting NJ Craft Breweries Indefinitely Suspended

Travelers at the Newark Liberty International Airport may soon be able to imbibe in adult beverages after hours. Legislation expanding the hours the airport is allowed to serve alcohol was unanimously approved by an Assembly panel. Bill A-2419 would allow bars and restaurants operating within an international airport to sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 8 am and 4 am.

Usually, local municipalities establish by ordinance the hours when alcoholic beverages may be sold for consumption on the premises. Continue Reading Newark Airport Bars May Soon Be Open After Hours

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced a settlement with a Hunterdon county craft beer wholesaler, resulting in a record $2 million fine for alleged trade practice violations.

The Division alleged that Hunterdon Brewing Company LLC sold draft beer tap systems below fair market prices and mislabeled the charges as “miscellaneous” on invoices to conceal them. The Division alleged that the company also ignored credit regulations for at least 700 retail customers. In addition to reviewing thousands of documents, the Division compiled sworn statements from more than two dozen retail licensees.

Continue Reading Craft Beer Wholesaler to Pay $2 M Fine to Settle Trade Practice Violations

The Brewers Association, the trade association representing small and independent American craft brewers, recently released 2016 data on U.S. craft brewing. Small and independent craft brewers represent 12.3 percent market share by volume of the overall beer industry, with more than 5,300 breweries operating during the year.

In 2016, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels. Retail dollar value was estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share. By adding 1.4 million barrels, craft brewer growth outpaced the 1.2 million barrels lost from the craft segment due to acquisitions by large brewing companies. Small and independent brewers continue to show steady growth. Microbreweries and brewpubs delivered 90 percent of the craft brewer growth.

Continue Reading Small and Independent Brewers Saw Growth in 2016

Legislation geared towards establishing a loan program for vineyard and winery capital expenses was released by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development last month. The bill (A-4274) would direct the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“EDA”), in consultation with the Department of Agriculture (“Department”), to create a loan program and application process for the purpose of supplying loans to certain eligible vineyards or wineries to pay for qualified capital expenses.

Continue Reading Legislation to Expand Lending for NJ Vineyards and Wineries

Congratulations to The Human Village Brewing Company, which opens on November 18th in Pitman, New Jersey.

The Human Village Brewing Co. began as “the shared vision of Emily Barnes and Megan Myers,” who began brewing their own beers as a hobby until it grew into its own company. Ms. Barnes has a background in chemical engineering, while Ms. Myers has a background in research and international studies. The brewery will have a “strong concentration in European styles” while still hoping to “emulate traditional brewing styles.”

To make reservations to the Grand Opening on November 18th, click here. To learn more about Human Village, please click here.

Marshall T. Kizner, member of the Stark & Stark Beer & Spirits Group, represents the brewery. Mr. Kizner focuses on assisting breweries, wineries, and distilleries in state and federal licensing, equipment leasing, financing, and employment matters. Additionally, he also has experience in commercial litigation.

The Stark & Stark Beer & Spirits practice is one of the only practices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania of its kind with a team dedicated to the needs of the craft and artisan spirits industry.

Congratulations to The Eight & Sand Beer Co., which opened this month in Woodbury, New Jersey.

The Eight & Sand Beer Co. was started by two friends to “build a more sustainable brewery” by using “environmentally friendly steam rather than direct fire burners to heat [their] 10 barrel brewhouse.” Eight & Sand plans to feature “rotating taps in [their] tasting room, providing a different experience for every visit.”

The Eight & Sand Beer Co. is now open, and has Tasting Room Hours on Thursday through Sunday. To learn more about the Eight & Sand, please click here.

Marshall T. Kizner, member of the Stark & Stark Beer & Spirits Group, represents the brewery. Mr. Kizner focuses on assisting breweries, wineries, and distilleries in state and federal licensing, equipment leasing, financing, and employment matters. Additionally, he also has experience in commercial litigation.

The Stark & Stark Beer & Spirits practice is one of the only practices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania of its kind with a team dedicated to the needs of the craft and artisan spirits industry.

Stark & Stark Shareholder Dolores R. Kelley, Esq., with contributions from Associate Marshall T. Kizner, Esq., authored a chapter in the book Moonshiner to Craft Distillery, Leading Lawyers on the Business of Distilling (Inside the Minds)[1], which was published by Thomson Reuters. The chapter they authored, entitled “Ensuring Distillery Compliance Requires an Interdisciplinary Approach,” explains the effect of the evolution of distillery laws on the craft distillery industry.

Continue Reading Shareholder & Associate Contributed to Published Book Moonshiner to Craft Distillery, Leading Lawyers on the Business of Distilling

Since New Jersey’s Craft Distillery Law went into effect on December 1, 2013, several craft distilleries have opened in the State of New Jersey. This is the focus of a recent New York Times article, which details the stories behind three distilleries that have opened in New Jersey recently. Some of the most attractive features of the new law are:

  1. It significantly reduces in state license costs through the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”);
  2. It provides businesses the ability to conduct onsite tours and sampling; and,
  3. It provides distillers the ability to sell distilled spirits at retail to customers visiting the premises.

In view of these key features and the trend towards nationwide wide growth in the craft distillery industry, growth in New Jersey should continue prosper and flourish.

Stark & Stark’s Beer & Spirits Group provides sound legal counsel to the craft beer and distillery industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For more information contact Marshall Kizner, co-chair of the Beer & Spirits group, at (609) 219-7449 or mkizner@stark-stark.com.