Produce, Pies… and Beer? NJ Considers Allowing Farmers’ Markets to Sell Brews
With the proper permit, breweries in the Garden State would be able to sell their beer at community farm markets under a measure expected to be considered soon by state lawmakers.
Taking a page from states such as California and Maryland, the legislation says breweries would have to renew their permits annually. And no farmers' market sales would be allowed in "dry" municipalities that prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Ryan Krill, president and co-founder of Cape May Brewing Co., said the move would not be a major moneymaker for breweries, but it can put their name and product in front of a group of customers who may have otherwise never taken a sip.
"It's a real opportunity to get exposure," Krill told Townsquare Media.
As president of the board of directors for the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Krill was involved in the crafting of the legislation. It also allows for samples of beer on site.
On tap at the Cape May Brewing Co. are the only two beers in the state with a "Jersey Fresh" designation — Beets By May, infused with Jersey-grown red and yellow beets, and Honey Porter Nitro, which gets its sweetness from a local apiary.
"We're looking to pair a bonafide craft brewer with a bonafide farmer," Krill said. "It speaks to the nature of craft beer. You have your farmer selling his beets next to the brewer who made the beer."
The state currently administers approximately 135 community farm markets.
Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said this effort is broadly supported by the agriculture community, but there are concerns over the definition of community farm market and people attempting to get around that.
The bill was originally on the agenda for consideration by the Senate Economic Growth Committee in late September, but the committee meeting was canceled last-minute. The committee is expected to meet again in the next couple weeks, but a specific agenda has not yet been released.