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New Jersey Extends Seasonal Liquor License Privileges

In a move that was argued against by many year-round retail consumption licensees, Governor Murphy signed legislation that amended N.J.S.A. 33:1-12 for seasonal retail consumption licenses. While there are only a handful of seasonal liquor licenses that exist in New Jersey, these owners have been vocal about extending their privileges to allow for the sale of alcohol during periods that were previously unlawful. At the heart of these seasonal retail consumption licenses efforts was a push to allow the sale of alcohol during holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, which occurs during the period when these seasonal liquor licenses cannot sell alcoholic beverages. However, many retail consumption licenses who were not subject to the “seasonal” restriction were adamant that granting an extension to allow for sales during these holidays was not fair to them as they paid a premium for their year-round licenses and the benefit that comes with being open during holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately for these year-round liquor license holders, the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy sided with the seasonal retail consumption licensees.

What Does the New Law Say?

Under S1958, N.J.S.A. 33:1-12 adds the following language:

Seasonal retail consumption license. (1) The holder of this license shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to sell any alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises by the glass or other open receptacle, and also to sell any alcoholic beverages in original containers for consumption off the licensed premises, during the summer season from May 1 until November 14, inclusive, or during the winter season from November 15 until April 30, inclusive. (2) In addition, the director shall issue to the holder of this license, upon request by the licensee, one-day permits that shall entitle the license holder to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises during the season when the license holder is not authorized to sell alcoholic beverages pursuant to subparagraph (1) of this subsection. The number of one-day permits issued to a licensee pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed an aggregate of 14 permits in one calendar year. A one-day permit issued pursuant to this subsection shall be valid for 24 consecutive hours. The fee for each one-day permit shall be $500. The governing body of the municipality in which the licensed premises is situated may place reasonable conditions upon a one-day permit for the purpose of maintaining public safety on the licensed premises and immediately surrounding area. The costs associated with the reasonable conditions placed on the one-day permit shall be assumed by the holder of this license.”

Essentially, the new laws permit seasonal retail consumption licensees to obtain “1-day permits” to engage in the sale of alcoholic beverages during the season which they were previously disallowed (for context, all of the currently-owned seasonal retail consumption licenses in New Jersey are for the summer season). This means that a seasonal retail consumption licensee may apply for a permit to sell alcoholic beverages on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas Eve, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc. For seasonal retail licenses, this new law presents a great opportunity for them to take advantage of the few busy days during the, typically, slow winter months.

NJ Liquor License Attorneys

Our firm specializes in the practice of Alcoholic Beverage Regulation and Liquor License Laws in New Jersey. Firm Partner, William C. Fay, IV, Esq., is a former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. We represent liquor licenses facing charges for ABC violations brought by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control or the local municipal authority. Additionally, we assist individuals looking to buy a liquor license or start a brewery, winery or distillery. For more information or to speak with Mr. Fay today, please contact our office at (732) 858-5857.

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