Since lifting prohibition in 1933, New Jersey has maintained some of the most restrictive liquor licensing laws in the nation.
As a result, obtaining a license to serve alcoholic beverages in a restaurant in the Garden State is not only extremely difficult, but also very expensive.
In parts of the Garden State, having the option to purchase a license to serve alcoholic beverages can cost up to $1 million.
In recent years, there have been efforts to change state law to allow for the creation of special low-cost liquor licenses that would give small restaurants the ability to serve beer and wine, but the issue has been quite controversial and to date, all proposed legislation has stalled.
But with the restaurant industry facing an unprecedented series of recent crises, first from COVID, then labor shortages, supply chain issues and dramatic price increases Due to inflation, the question of who should be allowed to have what type of liquor license has come back into sharp focus.
New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association President Dana Lancellotti said many small restaurants fighting for survival favor some sort of restricted liquor license scenario, while most restaurant owners who have already purchased a liquor license, paying a small fortune. , oppose this type of expansion.
“New Jersey has some challenges with liquor licensing that other states don’t have to deal with. It’s a very complex issue and it’s a hugely emotional one,” she said.
On Monday, the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association held a special town hall meeting to educate everyone on the issue and foster dialogue.
“We’re not taking a position on that at the moment,” Lancellotti said, “we’re learning, listening to everyone’s views and understanding other positions on this very complicated subject.”
She said there was unfortunately no quick fix that everyone would be happy with.
“There’s no one who disagrees that it’s a mess and the system needs to be improved,” she said.
She pointed out that this cannot happen overnight, or even in the coming months, because those who already have liquor licenses have paid huge sums of money for them “so you literally take something which has a value of $750,000, and then you’re diminishing that value in the blink of an eye, so there’s a lot at stake.”
She also pointed out that as efforts to promote tourism in New Jersey have progressed, the issue has become even more complex.
Lancellotti noted that wineries have been allowed to serve the different varieties of wine they produce with certain types of food while breweries have claimed the right to have more than just tastings on their sites, and while BYOB restaurants are allowed to allow diners to bring their own alcoholic beverages, some charge a fee to open a bottle of wine.
What is the next step ?
She said “we really want to talk more, we just want to have more conversation and dig in and find a way to make it work for everyone.”
Legislation introduced earlier this year, S350 sponsored by State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, calls for the creation of restricted liquor licenses that would allow the licensee to sell beer, wine and cider by the glass on the premises of a restaurant with a full-service kitchen, when food was served at the table.
The measure would also provide a series of tax credits to restaurants that already own alcoholic beverage licenses, to compensate licensees for the expected loss in value resulting from the creation of the new restricted licenses.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey
A trip to New Jersey doesn’t have to be just the beach. Our state has incredible trails, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy.
From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to New Jersey’s hidden gems, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it’s a great workout.
If you descend and meet an uphill hiker, pull to the side and give the uphill hiker some space. An uphill hiker has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.
Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless marked as an official trail, avoid them. Going off the trail, you risk damaging the ecosystems around the trail, the plants and wildlife that live there.
You also don’t want to disturb any wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.
Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also give in to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you’ll encounter on New Jersey trails.
If you plan to take your dog on your hike, they must be on a leash and be sure to clean up all pet waste.
Finally, pay attention to the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it’s probably best to save your hike for another day.
I asked our listeners for their suggestions on the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: