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NJ takes steps to allow restaurant distilleries

Silk City Distillers

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I don't have time to go long here, James, but ...

The quote:

"Craft distilleries in this state are essentially business start-ups, so allowing them to operate a restaurant on the premises will help them get off the ground by exposing more potential customers to their products and also attracting new clientele who might not necessarily be drawn to distilled spirits,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Middlesex) in a statement.  “This business model has proved a boon to the brewpub industry, and would do much the same for the long-term health of craft distilleries."

The TTB issue.  It is illegal to have a distilled spirits plant anywhere where liquors of any sort (wine, beer, spirits) are sold at retail.  That is a matter of law, not regulation, so TTB can't make exceptions, grant variances, etc.  The DSP must have bonded premises and may have general premises as well.  Since general premises are part of the DSP, you can't locate the retail sales area on the general premise either.  I don't care that you know someone who ... What TTB approved in the past is irrelevant and in many cases wrong under their rules.  

But don't despair or abandon all hope.   

The solution is simple enough; you put a suitable partition between the DSP and retail area and describe the DSP, on your application, in a way that does not include the retail area.  Bingo, the DSP is not located where liquors are sold at retail.  You then register, with TTB,  as a retail liquor dealer at the location.  

Note, nothing says that the boundaries of the state defined distillery premises must coincide with the federally defined distillery premises.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking that consistency is required.  It is not.  There are lots of examples of inconsistencies between federal and state law.  You must obey both.  The trick is finding a way to do that.  Here it is not hard.

This answer breaks my rule about providing citations, but the answer is sound, nonetheless.  Particular circumstances?  PM me and we can discuss how I might be able to help.  That's as close to an advertisement as you will find me including in my forum comments, but I can only give general answers here.  Particulars would make for a very long decision tree sort of presentation of the issues, most of which would be irrelevant to most other situations.

One final comment.  TTB allows taverns on brewery premises.  That is why it is not safe to compare breweries (apples) to distilleries (oranges).  It isn' that TTB wants to be inconsistent across commodities.  The law is inconsistent that way.

Gotta run. 





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I think this was only done because the old NJ craft distillers license specifically barred them from selling or operating a restaurant on premise.  Additionally I think they could only sell for on-site consumption if they provided a tour as well.  Seems like they could have just modified the existing license to remove these restrictions.

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