New Jersey breweries want fewer restrictions but are up against the clock

The state Senate will consider a measure on Monday lifting some restrictions on breweries like a ban on serving food.

N.J. Capitol building

The state Capitol building in Trenton, New Jersey. (Evelyn Tu for WHYY)

Breweries across New Jersey are bracing for another year of regulations that some argue are detrimental to their businesses. Last year, new rules were implemented that banned breweries from serving food and limited the number of events they can host to 25 per year.

Chuck Garrity, owner of Death of the Fox Brewery in Clarksboro, said the rules go beyond what is necessary. He said hosting events could generate significant revenue for breweries to help some stay in business.

“There’s already been nine breweries that have gone out of business just over the last year. And so, my guess is that if something isn’t done, that number might double,” Garrity said.

The restrictions are set to be reinstated on July 1 unless lawmakers pass new legislation. The state Senate is scheduled to address the bill on Monday.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Representatives for General Assembly leadership say there’s currently no word on if the lower house will take up this issue before the deadline.

The Brewers Guild of New Jersey, led by executive director Eric Orlando, has actively participated in crafting the new legislation. He emphasized the urgency of the situation.

“With the legislature going on break after they pass the budget by June 30, it puts us in a spot where we really need to get this bill done,” Orlando said.

According to an April survey conducted by Stockton University, 61% of New Jersey residents oppose the current restrictions.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal