Sen. Gopal: Serious Concerns with ABC’s New Brewery Regulations

09/28/18 | News

Senator Vin Gopal is raising strong concerns on the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s new regulations on the state’s breweries.

These regulations, which severely limit the scope of breweries’ operations, include a limit 25 “special events,” such as paint and sip nights, trivia nights, live televised sporting events and live music nights; a limit of 12 special permits a year to sell products off the brewery premises such as festivals, athletic events, and other civic events; a limit of 52 private parties (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries) a year; and a requirement to electronically notify the ABC 10 days prior to holding the event.

“These regulations are extraordinarily restrictive, placing an undue strain on our breweries,” said Senator Vin Gopal.

“We must focus our efforts on supporting small businesses, not limiting their ability to attract customers. Special events are vital to these small businesses, which employ numerous hardworking local residents. Without the ability to attract new customers and grow their business, local breweries will be stifled and stunted. I strongly encourage the ABC to reconsider these ill-conceived regulations and give our breweries the chance to grow and thrive. I will be speaking with ABC as well as seeing what we can do legislatively to remove some of these restrictions.”

Local brewery owners have joined Senator Gopal in their opposition of these new regulations, saying that they will have a devastating impact on their business.

“Our plan was to open a retail location for summer of 2019, but these regulations are forcing us to re-evaluate our business model,” said Will Grundmann, co-founder of Monmouth-based Twin Lights Brewing. “Hosting special events puts breweries like ours on the map and gives customers an added incentive to try us out. These restrictions don’t just limit events, they limit our ability to get attention and sustain our business.”

Jeff Plate, owner of Asbury Park Brewery, agreed that these strict limitations will have a negative impact on his brewery, which employs 19 local workers.

Plate stated, “While our beer alone certainly draws customers into our tasting room, community engagement has become an important aspect of our business. I employ 19 local residents. These new restrictions will limit their potential earnings, as well as eliminate a gathering place for charity events, civic discussions and artistic expression that is vital to the city of Asbury Park.”