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Resolution opposes new limitations on craft breweries

Freeholder Board has adopted a resolution calling for regulations to be rescinded.

In response to a recent special ruling by the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) that places new drastic limitations on New Jersey craft breweries, the Freeholder Board adopted a resolution Wednesday, Sept. 26 calling for the regulations to be immediately rescinded. The ruling affects eight craft breweries in Burlington County with limited brewery licenses. These small businesses are playing a role in driving economic development and revitalizing our downtowns.

“Small businesses and the job opportunities they provide our residents are so important to our main streets and families all across the county. They should be provided with every avenue to grow and become part of our communities,” said Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs. “That’s why I was appalled to learn about the state ABC’s special ruling which severely restricts the business opportunities of our craft breweries. The Freeholder Board immediately took action and we are joining the fight to have these rules withdrawn.”

The state ABC’s ruling limits craft breweries to offering only 25 public events per year. Many breweries host popular weekly trivia nights, musical performances, movie nights, and gatherings for live sporting events on television. In addition, the rules dampen another potential revenue source for breweries by limiting them to hosting only 52 private events per year, such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, reunions, and professional association events.

Craft breweries have never been permitted by the State of New Jersey to serve their own food on premise, and now the rules even take it a step further by banning take-out menus from local restaurants on site. Lastly, the rules constrain the ability for breweries to reach new customers by limiting them to having a total of only 12 special permits for off-site events, such as a beer, music or arts festivals, civic events, holiday celebrations, or athletic events.

“As someone who personally enjoys visiting our craft breweries in Burlington County and taking part in their social events, I know how hurtful these rules will be,” added Freeholder Director Gibbs. “I am standing firmly on the side of our small businesses and hope to partner with them, our residents, and others throughout the state to have this draconian decision reversed.”

The Independent Craft Brewers of New Jersey, a statewide trade association representing craft breweries, has launched an online petition to urge Governor Phil Murphy and State lawmakers to withdraw the rules. Burlington County residents are urged to share their voice by signing the petition, which can be found here: https://brewedindependent.org/

The eight craft breweries in Burlington County are Common Sense Brewing in Bordentown City, Third State Brewing in Burlington City, Zed’s Beer in Marlton, Lower Forge Brewery and Nale House Brewing Co. in Medford, Spellbound Brewing and Village Idiot Brewing Company in Mount Holly, and Brotherton Brewing Company in Shamong.

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