On May 1, 2012, a law took effect that will allow New Jersey farmers and wineries to skip wholesalers and sell directly to retailers and consumers. The new law grants similar rights to out-of-state wineries and finally cleared the way for the Garden State to begin issuing new winery licenses to growers. While local business and political leaders are hoping the relaxed regulations will encourage further investment in the state’s wine industry, producers, retailers, and wine lovers alike are cheering the increased access to locally-grown wines ahead of the summer tourism season.
Tagged: Alcoholic Beverage Control
On January 17, 2012, Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill allowing out-of-state winemakers to sell directly to New Jersey consumers and retailers. The bill was in response to the Third Court’s decision in Freeman v. Corzine, which we reviewed on this blog a year ago. The decision invalidated a New Jersey law allowing certain New Jersey farmers and wineries to skip wholesalers and sell directly to retailers and consumers. The Court determined that the law ran afoul of the Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause because it imposed restrictions benefiting in-state wineries and farmers at the expense of their out-of-state competitors. This new law is intended to balance the competing rights of in-state and out-of-state wineries.
Pennsylvania’s Alcohol Sale Privatization Debate: What Does It Mean for Retail Beer and Wine Sellers?
Pennsylvania’s state-run stores could be on the verge of losing their decades-old monopoly on wine and liquor sales. On December 13, 2011, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Liquor Control Committee voted 15-10 to approve an amended version of Pennsylvania House Bill 11, (“Pa. H.B. 11”), which would allow the state’s 1,200 beer retailers to sell wine to the public, in competition with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (“PLCB”) 620 state-run stores. Notably, large supermarket chains within the state stand to gain an enormous benefit from the proposed law, which would allow for the first time in-store wine sales, as well as limited in-store tasting events. The proposed legislation now sits before the full House, awaiting floor debate, additional amendments, and a possible vote. The process could begin as early as this month.
New Jersey, like most other states, has a three-tier alcohol distribution system: (1) manufacturers and suppliers sell to wholesalers; (2) wholesalers sell to retailers; and (3) retailers sell to consumers. New Jersey’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws (“ABC Laws”), which are enforced by the Director of the Division of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”), have allowed certain New Jersey farmers and wineries to skip the wholesalers and sell directly to retailers and consumers. Out-of-state wineries and wine aficionados cried foul and challenged the special privileges given to New Jersey producers. On December 17, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its opinion in Freeman v. Corzine and sided against the New Jersey ABC.
The time period to renew an expired New Jersey alcoholic beverage license is rapidly coming to a close and will end on November 8, 2010. Under a provision of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, N.J.S.A. 33:1-1 et seq., enacted earlier this year, a person holding an expired license, which was not renewed within the five years prior to May 6, 2010, may file for renewal of that license provided that (i) the applicant pay all renewal fees for the years in which timely renewals were not filed, and (ii) the applicant’s failure to apply for a renewal during that period was due to circumstances beyond his control or due to other extraordinary circumstances.
Happy Hour for Xanadu! N.J. Appellate Division Upholds ABC Director’s Decision on Special Concessionaire Permits
On August 6, 2010, the Appellate Division upheld the decision of the Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) to issue a special concessionaire permit to the proposed Benihana restaurant in the controversial Meadowlands Xanadu Project. The ruling will allow Xanadu bars and restaurants to avoid acquiring costly plenary retail consumption licenses from existing East Rutherford licensees.