Thursday, June 30, 2011

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New Jersey Craft Distilling

A bill wending its way through the New Jersey state assembly would create a special license for craft distilleries. As you can imagine, I am all for this.

A3798, introduced earlier this year and sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, would allow smaller distilleries to operate in the Garden State. It includes restrictions, such as a ceiling of 20,000 gallons of distilled alcoholic beverages per year and a requirement that at least 51% of the raw materials used to make such spirits are grown in the state.  On-site sampling is expressly permitted. The pertinent section of the proposed amendment reads:
Craft Distillery License. 3d. The holder of this license shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to manufacture not more 20,000 gallons of distilled alcoholic beverages, provided that not less than 51 % of the raw materials used in the production shall be grown in this State, and to rectify, blend, treat and mix distilled alcoholic beverages, and to sell and distribute without this State to any persons pursuant to the laws of the places of such sale and distribution, and to maintain a warehouse. The holder of this license may offer any person not more than three samples per calendar day for sampling purposes only on the distillery premises. For the purposes of this subsection, “sampling” means the gratuitous offering of an open container not exceeding one-half ounce serving of distilled alcoholic beverage produced on the distillery premises. The fee for this license shall be $938.
$938. Almost 40 years ago, I visited my first still site in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. I'm certain that the moonshiners running that still paid nothing to the state for the privilege. This, though? This would be almost as cheap — and entirely legal.

For the rest of the bill, see here.


Tony Harion said...

WOW! This is great, really!

Matthew Rowley said...

Completely agreed, Tony. If only every state encouraged economic development and pride of place by lowering the costs of launching small distilleries.