ASSEMBLY, No. 2644


with committee amendments






      The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Assembly Bill No. 2644. 

      As amended by the Committee, Assembly Bill No. 2644 amends R.S.33:1-10 to establish a winery-brewery sublicense that would permit wineries to produce malt alcoholic beverages for retail sale to consumers for consumption off the licensed premises. This new sublicense would be available to plenary and farm winery licensees, provided they are engaged in the growing and cultivation of at least three acres of hops or 10 acres of barley on land on or adjacent to the winery premises. Rutgers University is developing methods for the cultivation of hops in this State; barley may readily be grown here. This requirement parallels the current requirement that these wineries are engaged in growing grapes or other fruit used in wine-making on a tract of not less than three acres on or adjacent to the winery premises.

      Under the provisions of the amended bill, the holder of a winery-brewery sublicense would be permitted to brew up to 3,000 barrels of malt beverages a year and to sell this product for off premises consumption and to offer samples. The annual fee for a sublicense would be $750.

      The amendments would permit a licensee to offer beverages at retail for off-premises consumption only and delete the provision authorizing the sale of malt alcoholic beverages to wholesalers and retailers. The amendments also require that at least 51 percent of the hops or barley used in a licensee's products during the first five years of operation be grown in New Jersey. Thereafter, the amendments require at least 75 percent of the hops or barley used to be grown in New Jersey.

      The bill also permits farm wineries to produce fermented alcoholic cider, commonly known as "hard cider."

      The committee also amended the bill to establish a farm brewery license under R.S.33:1-10. A farm brewery would operate in much the same manner as a farm winery, using locally grown farm products in brewing malt beverages which would be sold at the farm.

      The amendment would require a farm brewery licensee to cultivate a minimum of three acres of hops or 10 acres of barley, which would be used in its beverages. The licensee would be required to use at least 51 percent of New Jersey hops or barley in its beverages for the first five years and 75 percent thereafter.

      A farm brewery licensee would be permitted to brew up to 2,000 barrels of malt alcoholic beverages a year for retail sale for consumption off the premises and to offer samples. A graduated license based on volume would range in cost from $100 to $300 a year.