The New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control wants “limited brewery licenses” to realize they do not hold a bar license. The NJ ABC and its Director David Rible have announced a special ruling that basically says a 2012 amendment allowing craft breweries to sell beer with a tour was not meant to “establish a new consumption venue at the brewery, with the same privileges as a sports bar or restaurant.” It should be noted that a limited brewery license only costs a couple of grand, while alcohol licenses in the state can cost $1 million. Apparently Rible came to this conclusion after his fair share of beer trails. From the ruling:
Over the past year, I have visited numerous limited breweries, met with and spoken to various stakeholders, including the different tiers in the alcohol industry, and have analyzed the issues facing the growing craft beer industry. As a result of these visits, meetings with stakeholders, and discussions with the owners of the breweries, it has become apparent that there is significant confusion in the industry regarding what constitutes an appropriate tour and what constitutes permissible activities that may take place on a licensed premises, particularly in the tasting rooms of the limited breweries. Although it is clear that a tasting room at a limited brewery is not a new consumption venue with the same privileges as a Class C plenary retail consumption licensee, it is also evident that a brewery has limited retail privileges granted by the Legislature.
According to the ruling, limited brewery licenses in New Jersey will be allowed 25 events per license term at the brewery itself (stuff like trivia night, paint and sip, live music, yoga, yadda and yadda) and 12 off-premise events such as arts festivals or athletic events. The 25 in-house events will require an e-application.
The Division will be launching, on a pilot basis, an electronic notification system (“e-notification “) that will authorize a circumscribed set of activities on a licensed premises, consistent with the privileges granted by N.J.S.A. 33:1-10(1)(b). Upon completing the e-notification and certifying the truth and accuracy of the information provided, a Limited Brewery licensee will be authorized to conduct the event on its licensed premises as described in the e-notification. The notification shall be provided to the Division by the Limited Brewery at least ten (10) days before the special event is scheduled to occur. After the Division monitors and collects data on the efficacy of the e-notification system set forth herein, it will propose regulations implementing or revising this system.
The 12 off-premise events will require a special permit and will include events adjacent to the brewery and completely off-premise.
These special permits will be issued as part of a pilot program that will allow the Division to collect and interpret data related to these events and promulgate regulations implementing or revising these types of permits. The special permits issued will contain Special Conditions consistent with N.J.S.A. 33:l -10(1)O). Effective immediately, Limited Brewery licensees may apply for either the Limited Brewery Extension of Premises Special Permit or the Limited Brewery Off-Premises Special Permit, instead of the Civic and Charitable Event Permit currently issued by the Division.
Noting: Participation by a Limited Brewery licensee in a Festival held pursuant to the Special Ruling Authorizing the Temporary Issuance of Certain Festival Event Permits, dated June 9, 2014, and amendments thereto, will not count towards the twelve off-premises events that each Limited Brewery may hold.