New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a law slashing the cost of a license for small liquor producers.
State Senator Donald Norcross sponsored the law which cuts the cost of a distilling license for micro-distillers from $12,500 to less than $1,000 per year. Norcross says this will give business owners a “leg up” and enable them to expand. He see’s micro-distilling operations as a means to create jobs and increase tourism in the state.
“It encourages small business to stay here in New Jersey, to grow and create here in New Jersey,” said Norcross.
The new measure will benefit micro-distillers like Krista Haley of Jersey Artisan Distilling in Fairfield. She says one of the biggest benefits of the bill is the opportunity to host distillery tours and tastings.
“Here in New Jersey, we have such good farm products, good craft breweries, we have wineries,” said Haley. “It’s really an opportunity for a state like New Jersey to tap into all those resources.”
Micro-distilling as an art
James Yoakum of Cooper River Distillers in Camden says people often don’t know what to expect from liquor made on small-scale.
“It’s made in Camden, it’s made by hand and hopefully, once I have the product out and people taste it, they’ll be like this is really good, and really unique,” said Yoakum.
Haley describes her liquor labor as artisanal in nature.
“It really is an art as much as it is a science,” said Haley. “You have to be able to know exactly what the process is; there’s very finite moments.”
Final regulations coming soon
Both distillers will have to wait until the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control board comes up with final regulations of the law.
Haley says once that is complete, she hopes to open for tours as soon as possible.