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Festival Event Permit

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NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Festival Permit

New Jersey ABC Lawyer

On August 22, 2014 former ABC Director, Michael Halfacre, issued a Special Ruling authorizing and creating a temporary Festival Permit. The Ruling allowed certain qualified applicants to conduct Beer Festivals without certain regulatory restrictions. This came in response to the growing craft brewery and craft distillery movements in New Jersey. The intention of the Festival Permit is to eliminate mere “drinking events” and allow only those Festivals that meet the educational, large variety and introduction of craft beer requirements. Applicants for an Alcoholic Beverage Festival Event Permit must comply with the terms and conditions listed below in greater detail. If you are seeking to obtain a festival permit, contact the ABC attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay. Former ABC Deputy Attorney General, William C. Fay, IV, heads our Alcoholic Beverage Law practice and will assist you in ABC matter. Call 732-858-5857 today.

What is a Festival?

Pursuant to the Director’s Special Ruling, a “festival” means an indoor or outdoor scheduled gathering, function, occasion or event that shall be sponsored or hosted by either a retail consumption licensee, concessionaire permittee, or a social affairs permittee wherein small samples of an alcoholic beverage are available from multiple offerings from multiple suppliers, served for a single admission price or “per sample” price, and/or where the Tasting and Sampling statute and Regulation are not adhered to.

How to Get a Festival Permit in New Jersey?

The process of obtaining a festival permit to serve, sell and consume alcohol can be quite intensive. The fee for a Festival Event Permit is $1,000.00 for each consecutive day or part of day of the event, subject to a maximum of $2,000.00, with the following exceptions:

(a)  If the festival event is for the sole benefit of a non-profit organization, and does not involve a third party promoter, said fee shall be reduced to $150.00 for each consecutive day or part of day of the event.

(b) If the festival event is for-profit and does not involve a third-party promoter, the said fee shall be $500.00 for each consecutive day or part of day of the event.

Consumer alcoholic beverage festivals may only be hosted by a consumption licensee, concessionaire permittee or social affairs permittee under the following conditions:

  1.  The festival permittee shall hold an actively operated license or a valid permit authorizing sales of alcohol for immediate on-premises consumption. Further, Festival Permittees, as Licensees or Permittees, shall at all times be in control of the event and the premises and responsible for same;
  2.  All festival attendees consuming alcoholic beverages must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
  3.  The festival must provide an educational component relating to the type of alcohol being served or promoted at the event;
  4.  All alcoholic beverages used or consumed at a festival shall be brand registered, stored securely with all transportation permits intact and purchased in accordance with all the Division laws and rules’;
  5.  For an initial festival application, the Division must receive the completed application sixty (60) days in advance of the festival date; thereafter, future applications made by the same host shall be made thirty (30) days in advance of the festival date;
  6.  A festival session shall not be longer than four (4) hours in duration, but multiple sessions separated by at least a one hour break are permitted provided attendees are not permitted to attend more than one (1) four hour session per day. The Director may extend a session for up to one hour upon a showing of good cause;
  7.  Title to all alcohol to be available at the festival must pass from the licensed supplier or wholesaler to the Festival Permittee prior to service to the festival attendees. No alcohol, neither an open sample nor sealed container, may be removed from the site of the festival unless the seller has the privilege to sell to the public at such an event, as in the case of a New Jersey Winery;
  8.  Festivals shall last no longer than three (3) consecutive days;
  9.  A consumption licensee, concessionaire licensee or social affairs permittee, as the “host” or “sponsor” of the festival, shall only be allowed to conduct up to two (2) festivals within a calendar year per licensee or permittee and only four (4) festivals per year per licensed premises; and
  10.  The categories for festivals are: malt alcoholic beverage, wine, distilled spirits, or some combination thereof.
  11.  All pourers/servers shall be supervised by an employee who is TIPS/TAMS certified or the equivalent. All pourers shall be an employee or agent of a licensee or permittee. Agents or employees of a brewer, distiller, winery or wholesaler may also pour. However, if the brewer, distiller, or wine-maker is not a New Jersey licensee/permittee, the pourer shall be considered an employee or agent of the licensee/permittee to whom the festival permit is issued.
  12.  A minimum of fifteen (15) participating suppliers shall be necessary to conduct a festival.
  13.  A festival shall have sufficient food and non-alcoholic beverages available, whether complimentary or for purchase.
  14.  At least sixty (60) days in advance of an initial festival, festival applicants must submit a completed application, together with the non-refundable filing fee, which application shall include, but not be limited to the following:
  • The consent of the Municipal Clerk and Police Chief of the municipality where the festival is taking place. In addition, if the festival is taking place in or on publicly owned or controlled property, the consent of the political subdivision in control of the property and the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the property must be obtained.
  • A detailed security plan to assure general safety, as well as emergency medical assistance. The plan must provide for the following: age verification; “pass-off ‘ control; prevention of intoxication; compliance with regulatory requirements on sample sizes; identification of security personnel, duties, numbers and experience; confirmation that all servers shall be employees of the applicant and that each serving station will be directly supervised by an identified TIPS/TAMS or similar certified person acceptable to the Director.
  • A map or detailed sketch of the area where the festival is to take place shall be provided.

Additionally, a comprehensive event plan for the festival must be submitted. This list must include, but is not limited to:

  • Complete information regarding any involvement of a third party promoter;
  • Explanation of the required educational component of the festival event;
  • Explanation and information relating to any entertainment and/or recreational activities included at the festival.
  • Dates, times, ticket and other pricing
  • Identification of participating manufacturers or wholesalers of the featured products that will be served.
  • Description of food, non-alcoholic beverages, entertainment or other recreational activities that will be offered at the event, whether for sale or included in the admission price.

If granted, the permittee is still subject to civil liability for violations under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

NJ Liquor License Attorneys

If you are interested in scheduling and hosting a festival involving Alcoholic Beverages, contact the ABC Licensing Attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay. Our firm can be reached 24/7 at 732-858-5857.

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