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Going Pro Cheap - NJ Farm Brewery Licensing and Fees

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Awhile ago NJ passed a bill allowing Farm Breweries, here's the text of the bill:

Farm brewery license. 1d.
The holder of this license shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to brew any malt alcoholic beverages in a quantity to be expressed in the license not in excess of 2,000 barrels of 31 fluid gallons per year and to maintain a warehouse and to sell products to consumers for consumption off the licensed premises and to offer samples for sampling purposes only.  The license shall be issued only when the brewery at which such malt alcoholic beverages are brewed is located and constructed upon a tract of land exclusively under the control of the licensee, provided the licensee is actively engaged in farming on or adjacent to the brewery premises and is growing and cultivating hops or another product which is used in the production of the malt alcoholic beverages.  The fee for this license shall be graduated as follows: to manufacture between 1,200 and 2,000 barrels per year, $300; to manufacture between 100 and 1,l99 barrels per year, $200; to manufacture fewer than 100 barrels per year, $100.  For purposes of this subsection, "sampling" means the selling at a nominal charge or the gratuitous offering of an open container not exceeding one and one-half ounces of a malt alcoholic beverage.  No individual or entity shall hold more than one farm brewery license.

So basically for the cost of a shed, a home-brew system, $100 license and planting some hops you're in business and can sell up to 1,000 bbl a year. This might be a good way to get into the business and see if you actually like doing it.

Worst case scenario is that it doesn't work and you're out $100. Either way you are left with a brew-shed and a small plot of hops.

There have been other bills passed with regards to being able to sell to the public (making it legal to have a taproom) but I'm not sure that applies to Farm Brewery Licenses.

In any case, you can still sell 1.5oz samples on premises. At $5/pint, a 1.5oz sampler would run about 62¢. Bring that up to $1/1.5oz sampler and you're now making $8/pint at the tap (obviously the cost/profit would need to calc'd correctly depending on material costs and other factors). Selling a full keg of 1.5 oz. samplers at $1 from the tap would make approx. $425 (5gal * 640oz / 1.5oz = 426.666). Drop the price to 75¢ per 1.5oz sampler and you're still making $320 per 5gal keg at the tap, and likewise at 62¢, $264.

I live on almost 4 acres of land here that is zoned rural and I'm thinking of giving it a go, but I just wanted to start the conversation and see what everyone else thinks about this given the low startup costs.


Jimmy K:
I wonder if growing fruit would also count if you use it in a fruit beer.

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In The Sand:
Much cheaper than Florida where a malt manufacturer's license is $3k annually. If you brew less than 500 bbls and don't sell to distributors you can pay the smaller license fee of $750.

Massachusetts is doing something similar. you still have to deal with the feds and pay a bond but that goes towards your taxes due them anyway. I imagine your locality will have some ideas around what can and can't be a) a brewery and b) a tasting room not to mention local ordinances regarding intent to serve alcohol. but yeah it's pretty cool!

That's totally cool!  With that option, I might have a retirement "biz"!


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