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New Jersey opens doors for distillery business


In the past few years, more and more entrepreneurs have entered the world of craft beer and wine. This interest has also sparked the idea of individuals making artisanal liquors and spirits. New Jersey is finally catching up with this trend. The state recently loosed certain legal restrictions governing the beer and wine-making industry.

This move prompted those interested in expanding the alcohol business in New Jersey to talk to state legislators about the distilling industry as well. Now, the New Jersey state legislature has given the thumbs-up to a craft-distillery license. The governor still needs to sign the bill to make it law.

New Jersey's laws governing the commercial distilling industry, which were based on the post-Prohibition era, sharply restricted the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Residents are hopeful that this change of law will encourage start-up companies and agri-tourism. For entrepreneurs, the annual permitting fee for a small-batch distillery drops from $12,500 to just under $1,000 for a craft license. This is a much more manageable number for many people who are starting to dabble in the artisan liquor industry. The craft license permits the distillery to produce 20,000 barrels annually.

If passed, the new law will also allow tours and tastings at the distilleries. This is good news for business owners since the average yearly gift shop sales for a craft distillery is $30,000. Investors should be excited about this prospect as well because where tourism increases, there is always an opportunity for more hotels and restaurants.

Distilleries will also be able to show some state pride with their liquor. Products with over 51% of their ingredients from New Jersey can be labeled "New Jersey Distilled".

It's always good to hear when a state is making moves to encourage business formation and growth. Individuals who want to start their own company, whether in the distillery industry or otherwise, may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in business formation.

Source: NJ Spotlight, "Craft-distilling bill will end Prohibition-era restrictions," Tara Nurin, July 29, 2013

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