Coronavirus In N J: Why Distilleries Can Not Deliver Alcohol, But Breweries And Restaurants Can

Posted: Apr 29, 2020

While you're at home, maintaining a safe social distance from others, many of the comforts of life before the global coronavirus pandemic can be brought to your front door, including beer from area craft breweries and wine from New Jersey wineries.

But New Jersey craft distillers cannot bring their spirits to you.

The short explanation for why distilleries can't deliver but breweries and wineries can is that the laws governing the former are more specific than those governing the latter.

New Jersey's statute regarding craft distilleries does not allow for deliveries, and the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which has issued special rulings granting breweries the temporary ability to deliver, does not have the authority to waive statutory provisions, according to the Attorney General's office.

While the ABC now allows distilleries to produce and distribute hand sanitizer as part of the effort to fight COVID-19, some distillers are expressing frustration with their inability to deliver spirits, their primary product, to customers.

The inability to deliver, combined with customers abiding by Gov. Phil Murphy's shelter-in-place order, can result in drastic economic impact for distillers, according to John Granata, co-founder and master distiller of Jersey Spirits Distilling Co., Fairfield, and president of the NJ Craft Distiller's Guild.

Silk City Distillers in Clifton viewed the possibility of being able to deliver spirits as a means of giving its staff more working hours, and as a way of operating that was potentially safer that being open for take-out, according to owner James Bednar.

Bednar, whose operation is among those making hand sanitizer, said it was disappointing to see Murphy's April 3 shout-out to Texas-based Tito's Handmade Vodka, thanking the company for its shipment of hand sanitizer, masks and gloves to the state.

By Alex Biese, Rebecca King, Carly Q. Romalino and Anthony V. Coppola
April 29, 2020
Source and complete article: Asbury Park Press 

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