Help Make New Jersey a Better Place for Craft Brewers (and Craft Beer Drinkers)

We need more folks like Matt Steinberg to brew good beer to the Garden State!

Johnathan Moxey just alerted me to the fact that this is happening, which is kind of embarrassing, seeing as he’s from Missouri and lives in NYC, and I have lived in New Jersey for decades.  Anyway, my state is a crappy place to start a new brewery, and because of that, New Jersey has very few good ones.  This bill would go a long way towards changing that, and I hope that if you live on the Garden State or simply wish to foster the growth of craft beer from sea to shining sea, you’ll hit up a few legislators and tell them what they need to do – vote this sucker through.  Get to it!

More details below from the Brewers Guild:

For the first time since craft brewing was legalized in New Jersey, there’s an opportunity for you to make a difference and help New Jersey brewers and consumers.

On Monday, March 5, the New Jersey’s Senate Law and Public Safety Committee will meet to vote on S-641. The bill, developed by the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, will give all craft brewers in the state more flexibility in how, when and where they sell and promote their beer.

Current regulations highly restrict what New Jersey brewers can do—especially when compared to the surrounding states of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Specifically, this bill would allow:

  • one company to open more than two brewpubs
  • production breweries to sell beer for on and off premise consumption
  • breweries and brewpubs to conduct informational tastings off premise
  • brewpubs to distribute beer through the wholesale network

This will lead to a healthier environment for small brewers and more choices for craft beer consumers.

By Friday, March 2, please contact the five members of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee (listed below) to let them know that you support the legislation as a craft beer consumer and ask them to VOTE YES on the bill.

For your information, Committee Chairman Donald Norcross is already a co-prime sponsor of the legislation. You should thank Chairman Norcross for his sponsorship and for allowing the bill to be voted on in committee on March 5.

When calling the other members of the committee, you should comment on how this bill will help small brewers continue to create jobs, improve tourism opportunities and cut needless red tape. From the consumer perspective, you should comment on how the bill will allow you to have better access to the locally made craft beers you love and want more of.

Remember, please call or email these members by Friday, March 2 to make sure your voice is heard and your support for S-641 is registered.

Thank you for your continued support of New Jersey’s craft brewers.

Gene Muller
Flying Fish Brewing Co.
Treasurer, Garden State Craft Brewers Guild

Members of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee

Norcross, Donald – Chair
Audubon Commons Shopping Center
130 Blackhorse Pike
1st Floor
Suite D-3
Audubon, NJ 08106
(856) 547-4800

Greenstein, Linda R. – Vice-Chair
7 Centre Dr.
Suite 2
Monroe, NJ 08831-1565
(609) 395-9911

Bateman, Christopher
36 East Main St.
Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 526-3600

Holzapfel, James W
852 Highway 70
Brick, NJ 08724
(732) 840-9028

Sacco, Nicholas J.
9060 Palisade Ave.
North Bergen, NJ 07047
(201) 295-0200

Thanks for your support of New Jersey’s small and indepenent brewers.

Charlie Papazian

Brewers Association

Gary Glass

American Homebrewers Association

Support Your Local Brewery

Please support New Jersey S-641

Calling your elected officials is easy. A staffer will answer the phone. Tell the staffer your name and where you’re from and tell him/her why you’re calling and why the issue is important to you. He/she will thank you for your call and that’s it. There’s nothing to it. It will only take you a minute or two, but it makes all the difference.

– Stott Noble, Homebrewer

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Categories: Beer, Official Business


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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9 Comments on “Help Make New Jersey a Better Place for Craft Brewers (and Craft Beer Drinkers)”

  1. February 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks for highlighting the Bill. Hope(HOP)fully the Bill in some form will move forward and our fine State will become a more hospitable place for craft brewers (though a few very small upstarts are sprouting up in the southern counties (Cape May, Burlington).


    Oh, BTW, thanks to your post the other day on Old Schoolhouse IIPA I picked one up an hour ago. I had previously tried 2 of their brews and was unimpressed to say the least. Maybe the third time’s the charm (but if not for your rave, there wouldn’t have been a third time).


    • February 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Hope you like the old schoolhouse. Adding “Imperial” before anything usually makes it better!

  2. February 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Hi Jim; I just e-mailed them all and am including a copy of what I sent as a template for others to use as is or with a appropriate modifications.

    Hello Senators;

    Your fellow, Sen. Donald Norcross has sponsored a bill liberalizing New Jersey state restrictions on the brewing and sale of craft beers (see S-641).

    Unlike the big beer companies and many small business genre, ‘craft brewing’ is a growth industry. All over the US, brewing enthusiasts and business entrepreneurs are opening start-ups to meet the increasing demand for quality beer and ale. (The big beer guys, such as A.B.-Inbev and Millers-Coors, have already recognized this trend and are buying into/buying up craft breweries, such as Goose Island and Leinenkugel’s, as fast as they can.)

    However, in some states, New Jersey being a case in point, the brewing, distributing and selling of craft beers is hampered by antiquated and/or myopic laws that no longer make business sense. As a result, brewers who might have gone into business in New Jersey, migrate instead to states like Delaware–a small state but big on brewing–more amenable to their art and business, or even further afield to places like Colorado, California or the Pacific Northwest. This of course results in the Mid-Atlantic losing both profitable business ventures and quality locally-brewed beers.

    As a member of the craft beer-drinking community, I prefer that those brews stay here in the Mid-Atlantic. Please vote yes to proposition S-641.

    • Don
      February 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Nicely said, Wayne.

    • February 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Very nice, and much more eloquent than what I sent:

      Deer Govermint Dudes,

      Beer is good. Why do you hate it? Please pass the bill that will make moar beer. Don’t be a bag of doooches.


      James Galligan

  3. February 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks guys, I’m very trying…er…I mean I try. 😉

  4. Charlie
    March 1, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    Will this help brewers sell to people without going through a distributor?

  5. March 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Which is why our very own brewery in Ringwood NJ moved facilities over the border into NY state. So friggin’ sad.

    • March 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      +1, Katie. Total suckage, NJ!

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