SENATE LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

SENATE, Nos. 2286 and 463

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 6, 2012

 

      The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee reports favorably a Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill Nos. 2286 and 463.

      This committee substitute creates a “Craft Distillery License” which would permit the licensee to manufacture up to 20,000 gallons of distilled alcoholic beverages, provided that at least 51% of the raw materials used in production are grown or purchased from providers in New Jersey.  The fee for this license would be $938.

      The committee substitute permits a craft distillery’s products to be sold to wholesalers and retailers licensed in New Jersey and licensed in other states pursuant to the law of those states.  The license holder may sell the distillery’s products for consumption on the premises, but only to consumers who have toured the distillery.  In addition, a consumer who has toured the distillery would be permitted to buy up to five liters of the distillery’s products for consumption off the premises.  The licensee also is permitted to offer consumers up to three samples per calendar day.

      According to the sponsor, distilling was a significant industry in early America, with tens of thousands of producers.  During the colonial era, farmers used distilling to preserve excess fruit and grain, or to convert a crop to alcohol in a depressed market.  While industry consolidation from the 19th through early 20th centuries reduced the number of producers, prohibition still shuttered thousands of distilleries.  By 1980, there were fewer than 100 distilleries operating in the United States. The dawning of the 21st century, however, brought renewed interest in craft distilling and the industry began to expand rapidly, especially in New York, California, Oregon, and Washington.  The resurgence of small distilleries will encourage economic growth, increase tax revenue, and provide assistance to the agriculture industry.