New Jersey’s Game-Changing Liquor Law Reform: Boosting Breweries, Wineries, and Real Estate Development

The NJ Legislature has passed a bill, now awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature, that will change the state’s liquor license laws, particularly affecting breweries, wineries, distilleries, and real estate development. 

Key changes include:

Event and Food Restrictions: The bill allows breweries, wineries, and distilleries to hold unlimited events on-site and up to 25 off-site. They can also sell food and collaborate with external vendors like food trucks and restaurants, removing the need to offer tours before alcohol consumption.

Activation of Inactive Liquor Licenses: The legislation targets around 1,400 inactive ‘pocket’ liquor licenses, unused for at least eight years. If a license remains unused for two years post-enactment, it will expire, allowing municipalities to auction it to new businesses.

Special Licenses for Shopping Malls: Communities can issue special licenses in malls, based on size, enhancing real estate development opportunities. This includes additional licenses for larger malls and the option to transfer one dormant license per year to neighboring municipalities.

Farm Brewery License: A new license for farm breweries will be established, catering to operators engaged in farming and allowing them to brew and sell malt beverages on their premises, with production limits.

In regards to commercial real estate, the bill is expected to positively impact real estate and property development, especially in areas with shopping malls and in communities seeking to enhance their attractiveness through vibrant food and beverage scenes. By making liquor licenses more available and affordable, it could lead to increased development and revitalization of main streets and downtown areas.

What do you think about the new Liquor License reform? Will it be more beneficial or detrimental to CRE long-term?