Beer in New Jersey

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The production of beer in New Jersey has been in a state of recovery since Prohibition (1919-1933) and the Great Depression (1929-1945). Currently, the state has 83 licensed breweries:[1][2][3] a large production brewery owned by an international beverage company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and 82 independent microbreweries and 15 brewpubs. The growth of the microbreweries and brewpubs since the 1990s has been aided by the loosening of the state's licensing restrictions and strict alcohol control laws, many of which were a legacy of Prohibition.


The C. Feigenspan Brewery in Newark, New Jersey, c.1890-1900

The first brewery in New Jersey was established in a fledgling settlement of Pavonia in what is now Hoboken when the state was part the Dutch New Netherland colony. It was short-lived and destroyed by a band of Lenape in 1643 during Governor Kieft's War (1643-1645).[4] Large German immigrant populations in Newark and Jersey City led to the establishment of a healthy brewing industry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[5] Brewing beer became the fourth-largest industry in Newark,[6] and names like Kruger, Hensler, and Feigenspan were among the leading industrial families in Newark.[7][8][9]

Later, regional (and later national) brands Ballantine, and Rheingold, and Pabst, among others operated large breweries in Newark and surrounding towns.[6] With accusations of German propaganda and persecution of German-Americans during World War I, many of the state's brewers relocated to the American midwest.[10] Prohibition closed many of the remaining breweries in the state. For instance, of Newark's 27 breweries before Prohibition, none of them exist today.[11] As the industry reorganized and consolidated in the 1970s and 1980s to compete nationally, brewers like Ballantine (in the 1960s), Rheingold (1977), and Pabst (1985) closed their doors.[6]

Presently, the state is home to one large-production brewery, Anheuser-Busch in Newark, which opened in 1951 and is used for brewing Budweiser and Rolling Rock. New Jersey offers a limited brewery license for microbreweries and a restricted brewery license for brewpubs that has allowed the industry to grow in recent years.[12] In 1995, the Ship Inn Restaurant and Brewery in Milford became the first brewpub in New Jersey. In 1994, David Hoffman opened the first craft microbrewery in the state called Climax Brewing in Roselle Park, then followed shortly afterward by High Point Brewing.[6][13] In 2016, New Jersey craft brewers produced 111,416 barrels of craft brew.[14] In 2012, New Jersey liberalized its licensing laws to allow microbreweries to sell beer by the glass as part of a tour, and sell up to 15.5 gallons (i.e., a keg) for off-premises consumption. The same legislation permits brewpubs to brew up to 10,000 barrels of beer per year, and sell to wholesalers and at festivals.[15][16]

Brewery licenses and regulation[edit]

Breweries in the state of New Jersey must obtain licenses from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. New Jersey taxes beer at a rate of 12 cents per gallon.[17]

New Jersey Class A manufacturer's licenses for breweries[edit]

Type of License[18] Activity permitted Fee for license (As of 2019)
Plenary Brewery License


  • to brew any malt alcoholic beverage
  • to sell to wholesalers and at festivals in the state
  • to sell and distribute out of state
  • to maintain a warehouse
Base license:
  • $10,625
Limited Brewery License


  • to brew any malt beverage, not in excess of 300,000 barrels (31-gallon barrels) per year
  • to sell to wholesalers and at festivals in the state
  • to sell and distribute out of state
  • as part of a tour, sell beer for on-site consumption
  • to offer samples to visitors
  • to sell up to 15.5 gallons of beer (i.e. a keg) for consumption off-premises
  • sale of food is absolutely prohibited
  • to maintain a warehouse
Base license:
  • $1,250 for up to 50,000 barrels
  • $2,500 for 50,000–100,000 barrels
  • $5,000 for 100,000–200,000 barrels
  • $7,500 for 200,000–300,000 barrels
Restricted Brewery License


  • to brew any malt beverage, not in excess of 10,000 barrels per year
  • only for businesses with a Plenary Retail Consumption License and a dining facility
  • limit of 10 licenses to be held by a person
  • to offer samples at off-premises charitable or civic events
  • to sell on-premises, to wholesalers, and at festivals in the state
Base license:
  • $1,000 for first 1,000 barrels
  • $250 for each additional 1,000 barrels

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New Jersey Craft Beer. "New Jersey Breweries & Brewpubs – contact info, tours, tastings and more" (10 April 2013). Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  2. ^ New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "New Jersey ABC list of wineries, breweries, and distilleries" (5 February 2013). Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  3. ^ New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. "New Jersey ABC license update" (16 April 2013). Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  4. ^ Pellegrino, Michael (May 5, 2010). "The history of beer in New Jersey". Inside Jersey (published by The Star Ledger).
  5. ^ Newark and Area Breweries at Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Holl, John. "Brewers Make a Comeback In a State They Once Left" in The New York Times (6 July 2004).
  7. ^ "The Joseph Hensler Brewing Company - Old Newark. Retrieved 29 January 2013
  8. ^ Feigenspan: Behind the Scenes in a Great American Brewery (Newark, New Jersey: Christian Feigenspan Brewing Co., 1939).
  9. ^ Bennett J. Fairmount Cemetery Part 2 at Newarkology! ( Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  10. ^ United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Brewing and liquor interests and German propaganda: hearings before a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Sixty-fifth Congress, second and third sessions, pursuant to S. res. 307, a resolution authorizing and directing the Committee on the judiciary to call for certain evidence and documents relating to charges made against the United States brewers' association and allied interests and to submit a report of their investigation to the Senate, Volume 1 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919; Google eBook)
  11. ^ Fortunato, John. "Beer Trails: Port 44 Brewery Exemplifies Newark’s Revitalization" in The Antiquarian Weekly (13 October 2010). Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  12. ^ New Jersey General Assembly. "N.J.S.A. 33:1-10". Statutes of New Jersey. New Jersey. "Class A, 1b" license"
  13. ^ Cerasaro, Ashley J. "Restaurant Review: The Ship Inn" in New Jersey Monthly (9 August 2009).
  14. ^ Nurin, Tara. NEW JERSEY CRAFT BEER SALES STATISTICS, 2016 in BREWERS ASSOCIATION (2018). Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  15. ^ P.L.2012, Chapter 47, approved September 19, 2012
  16. ^ "New Rules Let More Beer Flow" in The New York Times (4 January 2013). Retrieved 5 February, 2013.
  17. ^ N.J. P.L.2009, c.71
  18. ^ "N.J. Legislative Statutes". Retrieved 2019-03-26.

Further reading[edit]

  • Morris, Chris. "North Jersey Beer: A Brewing History from Princeton to Sparta", Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781626199071
  • Bryson, Lew and Mark Haynie. "New Jersey Breweries", Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008. ISBN 9780811735049.
  • Pellegrino, Michael. "Jersey Brew, The Story of Beer in New Jersey", Wantage, NJ: Lake Neepaulin Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9780976523314.

External links[edit]