TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey’s microbrewing industry is coming back after nearly being destroyed by Governor Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. This is New Jersey where anyone who is having financial success becomes a clear target of the progressive Democrat state bureaucracy.
Now, Murphy and that bureaucracy are taking aim at the microbrewing industry.
According to NorthJersey.com, prior to the pandemic lockdowns, New Jersey’s microbrewery industry was growing faster than any other state. You would think that’s a good thing. You would think that’s something the state would want to see a rebound in the post-COVID-19 era.
Enter the administration of Governor Phil Murphy.
On July 1st, a special ruling limited the number of events microbreweries can host annually and limited off-premise events such as festivals, town events and private celebrations. These rulings were proposed in 2018, but upheld by the Murphy administrations and rolled out last week.
Responding to Friday’s issuance by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) new license conditions that severely restrict local breweries from operating freely and fairly, Senator Michael Testa (R-Vineland) announced he will introduce new legislation to counter these new rules and let freedom ring for breweries.
“These disastrous and destructive new conditions are an affront to the freedoms that our breweries should enjoy in pursuing their goals and trying to find a place in our state’s economy,” said Testa. “In my opinion, the ABC fell far short treating our local breweries fairly, which we must address with new legislation to aid these small businesses.”
“These breweries, like most small businesses, suffered under Governor Murphy’s pandemic shutdowns and restrictions. To increase their burden with these new rules only adds insult to injury,” Testa said.
On July 1, the ABC issued new conditions on brewery licensees and the number of events they can host and attend every year. Microbreweries are limited to 25 on-site activities annually, as well as 52 private parties. Breweries can also attend 12 off-premises events, such as town or local celebrations. Breweries found in violation of these license conditions can now be subject to financial penalties and have their license suspended or revoked.
“The fact that the government can come in and micromanage how breweries can operate is offensive enough. But further restricting their ability to innovate and be successful is unconscionable and requires the legislature to counter the actions of these unelected bureaucrats,” said Testa.
Testa and other members of the Senate are reviewing the ABC language along with various stakeholders groups across the state.
The Senator believes that legislation can be introduced at the next Senate quorum.