The Future of Liquor License in NJ

Although this could negatively impact many like myself, overall I think this is the best for the state. The current system is archaic as best.

That’s whacko. I always thought Kansas was ridiculous, but wow!
For my knowledge, beer and wine are considered the same category as hard liquor,
so no what I’ve always called taverns exist?
Or this is all about food establishments that serve alcohol, not bars that serve food?

In NJ a liquor license allows for the sale of beer, wine and spirits aka hard alcohol. There are few exceptions like if you are an affiliate of a winery you can sell your product(s) and similarly if you are a brewery. Otherwise it doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant serving alcohol or a bar/tavern serving food, you are required to have the same full license. (there are a couple forms of full license which are, consumption only, consumption and packaged goods, packaged goods only/non-consumption)

Wow! I realize I’ve lived 30+ years in a state that derives a significant amount of income from Beer, Wine, Liquor and Pot producers and seeks to create favorable economic conditions for them to succeed, but I’m still amazed other places are 50 years away. I’m just not sure in what direction.

I don’t think expanding freedoms exists in the lexicon of any legislative body anywhere in the U.S.

Watch for the “qualifiers” businesses have to meet to get newly authorized liquor licenses, then decide if your state government is working to grow their state economy.

I don’t like the idea of a set # of licenses, making them an asset unto themselves.
Almost like Michael Cohen’s cab placards.
That’s anti-capitalism, not capitalism.

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That’s the part that seems screwiest to me - not even having a “secondary” tier license that allows on-premises consumption of wine and beer, if not spirits. NY’s ABC system is pretty thoroughly screwed up too, but at least we have that

I mean, “not encouraging public drunkeness” (said with tongue planted firmly in cheek) aside, I think reasonable arguments can be made that “‘bars’ that serve food” have a different impact on neighborhoods/“public welfare” than “‘restaurants’ that serve wine and beer” (or even “wine bar” or “brew pub” sorts of places) do and while maybe that could be addressed differently, restrictive liquor licensing isn’t an entirely unreasonable way to to handle that. (ETA: And while there’s also a difference between a restaurant without a separate bar serving spirits and “bars”, that’s a distinction that’s harder to draw in the abstract, at least without leaving a lot of wiggle room, than a clear line between lower ABV beverages and “spirits”.)

But it seems to me that much like NY’s arcane distributor and retailer licensing system, NJ’s existing state of affairs has a lot more to do with the political clout of businesses that benefit from the status quo than from a real interest in “promoting the public interest” and “protecting public welfare”. Surprise, surprise…:wink:

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This country’s alcohol laws are a spaghetti bowl of varying standards. In California beer and wine are licensed separately from spirits. A wine bar can sell both beer and wine for on premise consumption or to take out. In the city of Las Vegas a wine/beer bar can sell bottles and cans for on premise consumption but not for takeaway. That’s a separate, much more expensive, license. Cities bordering Las Vegas don’t have the same restriction. Go figure.


The morass of laws is totally explicable when looked through the lens of GREED. Someone had a brother-in-law and that was that for rational ordinances.

It was explained to me that the NJ three tier system was put in place to ensure ‘organized crime’ could not control product from creation to retail sale

With that lens on, it kinda becomes a- ha!

Then you start questioning why an establishment cannot do off sales (read: bottle store) and wander down that morass!

That is completely true about the organized crime aspect here in NJ. When I held certain license in Vegas I had to give information on my and my spouses family going back two generations. No joke.

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and if anyone thinks this is a joke, read this ABC newsletter okay it is from 2015 but the rules really havent changed

BTW the same level of dillegence by the ABC applies to anything that has a liquor license - basically if you have your ducks in a row, you are good… if you and your attorney try to skip things… expect the worst

There’s a thread about this over in Culture and Media, but I thought the Jersey board might get some talk from people who knew more about it.

Nobody in the article mentions (ahem) money, but I imagine this must be like running a members-only club out of your own garage?

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Good idea although my post was intentional; asking the community at large.

I’m from NJ and entertaining out of a garage isn’t uncommon. Opening your garage doors to a more bar like setup is news to me.

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Oh, I agree. Party in the garage is one thing, but “welcome to my garage bar” is something new to me as well. Why is it just a thing in Maplewood? or maybe it isn’t? I was thinking maybe the state-specific barriers to getting a liquor license in NJ had something to do with it.

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I see it more as gig commerce expanding. Self employment a la Lyft in a diff trade.

But if the drinks are free, how are they making money?


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Just like real life!

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From their invited neighbors!!??? I really find that hard to believe. To open a private bar so they’d have a cool place for all their friends to hang out - I can easily believe that.

But I’m curious for sure.