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New State Legislation Eases Longstanding Restrictions on Breweries

The bill, signed by Governor Murphy on Tuesday, has been touted as the first overhaul of the state’s liquor license laws since the aftermath of prohibition.

It expands the number of available liquor licenses by doing away with so-called “pocket licenses” or licenses that have been purchased but remain inactive. This change could introduce over 1,300 licenses back into the market. New licenses will also be created for shopping mall and strip mall locations.

The law also eases many restrictions that have been placed on breweries, cideries, meaderies and distilleries. Such establishments will now be able to host additional off-site special events as well as unlimited onsite events. Establishments will no longer be required to provide tours of their facilities to patrons. License holders will also be allowed to produce significantly more beer and sell a portion directly to retailers.

“The New Jersey craft brewing and distilling industry is growing rapidly” said State Senator Vin Gopal of District 11. “Under this law, craft alcohol manufacturers will flourish and revitalize Main Street business districts across the state.”