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Graziano tapped to be new ABC head

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James Graziano is slated to assume the role at the ABC on Nov. 26.
James Graziano is slated to assume the role at the ABC on Nov. 26. - ()

The Murphy administration named James Graziano, a partner at the law firm Graziano, Piasecki & Whitelaw LLC, as its pick to head the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Graziano’s appointment comes about a month after the ABC announced it would suspend its controversial restrictions on the state’s craft brewers.

Also a municipal court judge in Metuchen Borough, Graziano will assume the ABC post Nov. 26 after Gov. Phil Murphy’s formal nomination and the advice and consent of the State Senate.

Current ABC Director David Rible, who was appointed by former Gov. Chris Christie, is leaving the Department of Law and Public Safety to pursue other opportunities, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

In early October amid widespread criticism and mounting public pressure, the ABC suspended the enforcement of its sweeping rules on microbreweries that had been put in place just over a week prior.

Under its Sept. 24 special ruling, breweries were limited to 25 on-premises special events per year and permitted to do 12 off-premises events; however, all events required the ABC be notified first, at least 10 days in advance.

The ruling also said breweries were not allowed to give out menus from local food venues for visitors to order from — a staple offering of limited-license breweries since they are prohibited from serving food — or coordinate with local vendors to serve food at the brewery. The new regulations did allow for the offering of snacks like prepackaged crackers and chips.

As for the future of the special ruling and its subsequent suspension, “I do not [have plans about it yet]. It would be premature to get to any of that before I actually take office,” Graziano told NJBIZ.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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