Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. spent Tuesday afternoon touring the newly expanded facilities of the Cape May Brewing Company in an effort to promote a package of bills aimed at boosting the state's microbrewery industry.
The new measures, which have garnered bipartisan support, include provisions that would allow microbreweries to sell their products at local farmers’ markets and, inversely, would permit microbrewery visitors to enjoy local food on-site. Brewpubs would also be allowed to sell and distribute up to 1,000 barrels of malt alcoholic beverages to retailers licensed in both New Jersey and other states.
“I’m proud to have the support of New Jersey’s brewpubs, microbreweries and farmers in pushing this timely legislation to help grow multiple sectors of New Jersey’s economy and create new employment and tourism opportunities,” said Kean (R-Westfield). “These three bills will draw more people to our attractions and eliminate prohibitions on how breweries can open, develop and expand. They will double up on the vast successes of my bipartisan brewing legislation that was enacted in 2012.”
Cape May Brewing was a benefactor of the 2012 bill sponsored by Kean that allowed microbreweries and brewpubs to grow organically by increasing barrel production limits and allowing for brewery tours.
“Cape May Brewing Company is grateful to Sen. Kean for his support of Jersey craft beer and, ipso facto, an improved state economy,” said company President Ryan Krill. “While microbreweries have created hundreds of jobs in recent years, these bills would ensure progress doesn't stagnate. There's more at stake here than beer; this is about nourishing the state's agri-tourism industry and, in a broader sense, its entrepreneurial spirit.”
Kean says that, in the time since the 2012 bill was passed, the number of New Jersey breweries has doubled to 36 and the industry has an “annual economic impact” of $776.9 million. It is estimated that roughly 20 more brewery applications are currently pending in the state.
“Cape May Brewing Company is a shining example of the good that happens when we address antiquated laws and regulations to create more opportunities and grow our economy,” Kean said. “Since 2012, they have grown from one employee to 36 employees and counting, with extraordinary new facilities.”
“Our state’s microbreweries and brewpubs are always looking for new, innovative ways to connect with consumers, local businesses and the communities around them,” added Eric Orlando, Kaufman Zita Group vice president and Garden State Craft Brewers Guild representative. “Not only will these three proposals bring about new marketing opportunities for New Jersey’s burgeoning craft beer industry, but afford other local industries the ability to capitalize on the growing attention being paid to our homegrown microbreweries and brewpubs.”
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