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Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to Non-Club Members

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N.J.A.C. 13:2-8 Sales Restricted to Club Member

Clubs like VFW, American Legion and the like are scattered across New Jersey. Moreover, these clubs often have what is known as a Club License under New Jersey’s liquor laws. This allows these clubs and others that serve a benevolent, charitable, fraternal, social, religious, recreational, athletic or similar purpose to serve and consume alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises. However, this license is not without restrictions. The most obvious restriction is that club licenses can only serve club members, save for a few exceptions. If ABC Investigators or Detectives visit your bar in an undercover capacity or conduct a compliance inspection, you may receive a Notice of Charges shortly thereafter. To avoid a suspension of your club license, call 732-858-5857 and speak to the ABC liquor license attorneys at Proetta & Oliver. Call today to speak with firm partner and former Deputy Attorney General of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, William C. Fay, IV, and schedule your free initial consultation.

N.J.A.C. 13:2-8 Law

Under New Jersey ABC regulations, no club licenses (“36”) may sell serve or deliver, or allow, permit or suffer the sale, service or delivery of any alcoholic beverage to any person not a bona fide club member or a bona fide guest of such member. This means that the onus is on these clubs and their bartenders to confirm membership of any all persons who enter the premises. Failure to do so may result in civil charges from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

What is a Bona Fide Club Member?

Under N.J.A.C. 13:2-8.1, a “bona fide guest of a club member” means “an individual who is expressly invited to the club licensed premises by an individual member of the club and who is sponsored by and personally attended by the member at such premises. An individual club member may have as his guest no more than nine (9) individuals on any one occasion unless such individuals on any one occasion unless such individuals are attending a private affair, such as a wedding anniversary, confirmation, bar mitzvah or birthday party, honoring a spouse, child, parent, brother or sister of a club member.

Club licensees and their bartenders often attempt to “sign in” non-members as qualified guests, even when these guests do not know anyone in the club. ABC investigators often use this technique to trap club licensees into serving them as non-members. It is imperative that club licensees remain vigilant to these tactics, especially if investigators are attempting to entrap you and your club.

Penalties for ABC Charges

If you are charged with and in violation of N.J.A.C. 13:2-8, you will be facing a suspension for each individual offense as follows:

  • 10-day suspension for a first offense
  • 20-day suspension for a second offense
  • 30-day suspension for a third or subsequent offense.

This suspension is specific only to charges for sale to non-members. If you are charged with other violations such as failure to maintain books of account, failure to maintain invoices or Serving an Intoxicated Patron, then you will be facing additional and longer suspension periods.

Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Attorneys NJ

Call today and speak with an experienced ABC attorney at 732-858-5857.

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