HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey is laying down the law on its booming craft beer industry.
The number of breweries has increased tenfold in the last few years. But will the new regulations stunt that growth?
The Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack is only 3 years old, but co-owner Michael Roosevelt said it’s already expanding to meet growing demand. It’s the same story at Brix City Brewing in Little Ferry.
“There’s a lot of potential growth, which means jobs and a good economy,” Brix City co-owner Peter Reuther told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner on Wednesday.
In 2012, New Jersey allowed breweries to start selling beer on-site, prompting the number of breweries to explode to more than 100 today. But some bar and restaurant owners complained it created unfair competition.
This week, the state’s Division of Alcohol Beverage Control announced new regulations for those with a craft brewery license, including a requirement to give patrons a tour, no brewery is allowed to sell food, companies are limited to hosting 52 private events a year, and only 25 public events that are advertised.
Roosevelt said there is a community event every week. Now with the new rules he’ll have to pick and choose what he can host twice a month.
Alexis Degan, executive director of the New Jersey Brewers Association, said it could hurt smaller breweries that rely on events to bring in business.
“As we all know, social media is such an integral part of the landscape of commerce these days that limiting your ability to advertise those events does certainly hurt your bottom line because it will affect the number of people who are aware of it,” Degan said.
Some see the glass half full, especially because the new regulations allow breweries to participate in 12 off-site events every year.
“So if we want to go to Cape May, where there’s a big drinking scene down there, we can actually set up our own little thing and pour beer at maybe a street fair,” Reuther said.
Exposure is key, and breweries hope this is the start of a fruitful conversation with the Legislature going forward.
The regulations take effect next month.