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Legislature moving forward on plan to allow craft distilleries

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With wineries and craft breweries already growing in the state, lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to allow craft distilleries here.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton) and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Paramus) would allow licensees to manufacture up to 20,000 gallons of distilled alcoholic beverages annually. It also would allow the distilleries to sell their products to distributors and, in limited quantities, to people who tour the facilities. Licensees would not, however, be allowed to sell food.

“Much like our wineries and breweries, New Jersey craft distilleries will help carve out another niche in the regional tourism market, aid local farmers looking to sell off excess grains and fruits, and help keep us competitive with neighboring states that allow craft distilling,” Wagner said in a press release.

The bill was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on May 6, and now heads to the full Assembly.

The bill would also create a certification program, which would allow distillers who source at least 51 percent of their raw materials from the Garden State to label the product “New Jersey distilled.”

If approved, the fee for a craft distiller license would be $938.

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