BUSINESS & ECONOMY

New State Law Makes It Easier for Micro-Pubs to Sell Their Beer

At the Gaslight Brewery and Restaurant in South Orange, Dan Soboti and his son Dan Jr. are looking forward to taking their specialty beer beyond their family restaurant, thanks to state legislation that relaxes where they can sell it.

“We really are going to be looking towards the distribution that it’s going to allow us to do,” Soboti Jr. said.

Currently brew-pubs can only sell the beer they make on their premises. So if you want a pint of Gaslight, you need to come to the restaurant. But under the new law, brew-pubs will be allowed to sell their beers to other bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

State lawmakers have overwhelmingly voted to allow micro-pubs more leeway in selling their product, similar to laws in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Besides allowing the beer to be sold off-premises, micro-pubs will also be permitted to sell up to 10,000 barrels of brew a year, up from 3,000. And breweries — such as Cherry Hill’s Flying Fish — can sell their beer right at their plant, something currently banned.

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Soboti Jr., who is also the president of the New Jersey Craft Brewers Guild, thinks this will juice New Jersey’s beer industry.

“New Jersey still has a lot of growth potential and we really need to start increasing, which I think we will. And there’s definitely the people here to support that,” Soboti Jr. said.

Former New Jersey State Assemblyman Leroy Jones said he thinks the new regulations will grow business. “In these economic times, we want to see businesses do well and in these hot, hot days, no one wants to turn away a cold one,” he said.

Soboti Jr. says New Jersey ranks near the bottom of the nation in breweries per capita with just 24. He thinks that will increase because of the bill that’s now on tap.

Andrew Schmertz reports from South Orange.