NJ craft brewery sues state over event limits, other restrictions
EAST GREENWICH — A brewery and coffee roastery that has welcomed visitors to the Clarksboro section of this Gloucester County township for the last five years is bringing a lawsuit against the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The action against the ABC was filed Wednesday by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Death of the Fox Brewing Company.
At issue is a new set of rules for limited craft breweries in the Garden State that took effect July 1, particularly the stipulation that such establishments cannot promote more than 25 on-site events per year.
"Limited" breweries, as Pacific Legal refers to places such as Death of the Fox, do not offer on-site food menus, but are allowed to keep take-out menus on site and have patrons order delivery.
But the new rules also put the kibosh on collaborations with specific food trucks or other vendors.
The regulatory package had been in the works since 2019 but was shelved for several years due to the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and industry advocates hoped it would have been modified prior to this summer.
Pacific Legal said Death of the Fox and other breweries are being hindered from growing their businesses because of the state's limitations, and not only for the summer season that is just ending, but going into October.
"The rules define 'event' to include things like open mic and trivia nights, or even airing the MLB playoffs," the brewery's attorneys said in a press release, adding that the ABC was even restricting how many televisions a brewery could have on premises and how big those televisions can be.
State Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cape May, has been vocal about the ABC restrictions and said in July he would introduce legislation to reverse them.