A new state bill developed by the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild (Assembly Bill 1227) is designed to give all craft brewers in the state more flexibility in how, when, and where they sell and promote their beer. The bill recently passed a key stage of legislation — a signature from Gov. Chris Christie in Trenton.
The governor’s signature followed approvals by the New Jersey’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which would help to modernize New Jersey’s craft-beer production laws. The bill now heads to the full Legislature for a vote.
The governor’s approval brings Tun Tavern owner Montgomery Dahm one step closer to selling his popular Tun Tavern beer for on- and off-premise consumption. Passage of the bill will lead to a healthier environment for small brewers and more choices for craft beer consumers.
Current regulations highly restrict what New Jersey brewers can do, especially when compared to the surrounding states of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. New Jersey currently ranks 32nd in overall craft-beer production, compared to neighboring states like Pennsylvania (second), New York (seventh) and Delaware (17th) which are amongst the leaders in the country, according to the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild.
Passing of this bill would allow one company to open more than two brewpubs, and allow breweries like Dahm’s 16-year-old Tun Tavern to sell beer for on- and off-premise consumption. In addition, breweries and brewpubs will be allowed to conduct informational tastings off-premise, and most importantly, to distribute beer through the wholesale network.
Dahm stated that the passage of this bill “will mean a major brewery expansion, and help Tun Tavern and other New Jersey state breweries continue to create jobs, improve tourism opportunities and cut needless red tape. Our loyal customers will have more access to our fantastic hand crafted beers” [brewed by Tun Tavern Brewmaster Tim Kelly].