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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Ryan at FoodBizNJ

On Wednesday, May 3, Ryan headed up to Freehold to speak at the FoodBizNJ conference. A day of education and networking, FoodBizNJ benefits business owners and operators in the food and beverage industries, bringing together buyers and sellers in this industry to stimulate business, educate, and inspire.

“It was a fun day,” Ryan tells us. “I think people kind of ran out of steam by the time my panel rolled around, but the morning was well-attended.”

Ryan spoke on a panel called “Wineries and Distilleries: Developing Distributor Channels,” along with Tom Cosentino, Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association; Amy Sutton, Director of Sales, Marketing & Development at Claremont Distilled Spirits; and Charles Rosen, Founder & CEO of Jersey Cider Works. The panel was moderated by James J. McGovern, III, Partner in the Alcohol and Regulated Products Law Practice Group of Genova Burns, LLC.

One of the questions Ryan gets asked a lot has to do with market saturation. Breweries are popping up everywhere, and, while we love the friendly competition, eventually we’re going to reach a tipping point.

“I think the ones who make really great beer are building a strong following,” he said. “I think New Jersey beer’s going to continue to grow, but we may see some folks fall off.”

However, everyone seems to be recognizing the value of beverage tourism. At CMBC, we certainly love our out-of-towners — it’s part of our reality of being in a shore town. But the entire industry — wineries, distilleries, cideries, and breweries — are coming to the realization that people are beginning to mold their vacations around their favorite beverage.

“The picture we’ve tried to paint over the past few years,” he said, “is that beer isn’t a new thing, and that beverage tourism is real. It’s taken them awhile to believe us, but then we showed them that 41 million people live within 200 miles of a brewery in New Jersey. A lot of those people want to see where their beer comes from.”

Of course, if Ryan’s going anywhere he’s bringing some beer with him. Our Greeter Mary Braccili worked the event with him, serving up some King Porter Stomp, Demisemi, and Cape May IPA.

“There were LOTS of Villanova alums there, and they all loved Demisemi,” she says. “Even the Seton Hall and St. Joe’s people liked it. We had a good laugh about that.”

King Porter Stomp was particularly well-received, with one attendant saying that it was the best chocolate porter he’d ever sampled. “Everyone commented on how well-balanced KPS is,” she says. “People know how difficult that is to find in a chocolate porter. There’s either too much chocolate or not enough, but everyone thought we nailed it.”

There were a few people who had been to our Tasting Room and a few who caught our recent Tap Takeover at the Cloverleaf. “North Jerseyans are VERY excited for CMBC to head further north,” Mary tells us.

We’ll get there soon, guys!

In all, CMBC had a strong day in Freehold, helping the food industry to figure out exactly how beer is going to fit in the mix in the coming years.

“While beer is an old beverage, it’s a new industry in New Jersey,” Ryan says. “Craft alcohol manufacturing is a new thing and the state is trying to figure out how to handle the influx of all these creative folks doing cool shit in our state.”

And, as long as you guys keep supporting us, CMBC will continue to be at the forefront of folks doing cool shit.

Ryan at the NJ Conference on Tourism

Last Thursday, Ryan was at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City for the 2017 NJ Conference on Tourism, speaking on a panel called “Taste of Tourism.” Along with Tom Cosentino of the Garden State Wine Growers Association, Thomas Beaver of the NJ Department of Agriculture, Kevin Celli of Willow Creek Winery, Darren DeBlasi of Cecil Creek Farm, and James Yoakum of Cooper River Distillers, the panel focused on the importance of culinary tourism to the state.

“Tourism is one of New Jersey’s most prominent and visible industries,” Ryan says, “and people are more commonly thinking about their stomachs when they plan their vacations. Luckily, Cape May has some of the best restaurants in the region, but bringing together our four industries — wine, spirits, agriculture, and beer — we can determine ways to work together toward making New Jersey a culinary destination.”

Moderated by Cheryl Schultz of MMGY Global, she discussed the fact that we’re all targeting the same consumer, and by working together and cross promoting, we can see a greater gain in the marketplace.

Tom Beaver of the NJ Department of Agriculture spearheaded the Jersey Fresh program, to which CMBC owes great debt, having been honored with designations for our Jersey Fresh Honey Porter and Beets by May. He noted that producers are beginning to focus on direct-to-consumer venues, bypassing traditional middlemen and benefiting small businesses.

He also spoke of New Jersey’s dedication to preserving farmland. Agriculture has always been the backbone of the Garden State, but it has become more difficult for our smaller farmers to retain their farmland in the face of rising taxes and a global economy. The New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program is helping farmers meet their financial goals, providing them with capital to expand operations, eliminate or reduce their debt load, or further their retirement planning.

Kevin Celli of Willow Creek Winery is hugely passionate about sustainable agriculture. The synergy between wine, beer, and spirits is providing future sustainability and economic impact throughout the state.

Tom Cosentino of the Garden State Wine Growers Association spoke about his organization’s method of driving beverage tourism to local communities. They’ve devised a wine trail with a passport, linking together all of New Jersey’s wineries, and creating a contest out of visiting each one. If you visit all 45 of New Jersey’s wineries, you’re entered into a contest to win a trip — this past year to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Nearly 400 people completed the entire trail, making the program an extraordinary success.

A Consumer Supported Agriculture farm, Cecil Creek Farm exemplifies Tom Beaver’s message of marketing direct-to-consumer. Consumers can purchase shares in the farm, giving them a piece of the harvest. They’re also dedicated to Farm to Fork dining options, with their Open Kitchen concept giving diners a weekly menu based on that week’s harvest.

James Yoakum of Cooper River Distillers spoke of the change of law in 2013 that allowed for direct-to-consumer sales of distilled spirits in the state. They’re kind of the new kids on the block, still searching for their place in the industry.

Ryan spoke about the 2012 change in law that allowed for the uptick in the number of breweries in New Jersey. Previously, production breweries couldn’t sell anything on-premise — therefore there was no means for immediate revenue without first getting our brews into bars and restaurants. The change in the law allowed for breweries to pop up all over the place, giving new life to waning economies in smaller towns without such a draw.

Beer tourism is a huge sector of the tourism industry, and it’s morphing into wine, beer, and spirits tourism. We love to collaborate with the other movers in the alcohol manufacturing industry to bring more tourism dollars to New Jersey.

Ryan sees this all coming out of the local food movement. People are more interested than ever in where their food is coming from, and local makers of wine, spirits, and certainly beer, are becoming more interested in staying local. It keeps their hard-earned money in the economy that means the most to them and having a personal relationship with the people who are making your beer ensure that they keep making you good beer.

FOMO is a huge part of beer tourism, as well. The Fear Of Missing Out is huge when it comes to brews. How often have you heard about a new brew and taken a drive to check it out? Or Untappd tells you all of your friends are checking it out and saying how great it is? In this business, it’s usually here today, gone tomorrow, so you know you’ve got to move quickly when it comes to the craft beer movement — and it brings you to places you may not have gone before.

These apps keep us honest, too. A poor rating on Untappd will kill a new brew. It gives us a chance to step up our game.

“If you’re not making a top-notch beer,” he said, “the world’s going to know about it and you’re probably not going to survive.”

Ryan drew attention to our self-guided tour, explaining how we’ve turned a legal requirement into a “thing to do.” We drew on a local artist to design it in a style reminiscent of the Wildwood Boardwalk and packed it full of fun and educational things to do before you’re permitted to drink our beers.

All of the things that we do — from the self-guided tour to being open seven days a week, noon to 8pm — helps drive business to Cape May County. We hope that people will stop by the brewery then head into town for a meal and spend the night. The brewery is an economic engine for the area, and we work diligently to keep it that way.

The talk was extraordinarily well-received, with a few people mentioning that they should “take it on the road.” It seems that the restaurant industry could learn a thing or two from the ways that our farms are working together with our wineries, distilleries, and breweries to bring culinary tourism to New Jersey.

We’re working hard to make New Jersey a destination for beer tourism, and we’ve got some good people in the wineries and distilleries helping us to make it happen. New Jersey has such a natural draw for tourism in the beaches that are a stone’s throw from the brewery — and stretch 130 miles north to Sandy Hook. Beyond the beaches, New Jersey’s got mountains, the arts, sports, history, and culture all serving to make the Garden State a premier travel destination.

It’s our hope that they’ll stop out for a beer and tell a friend.

Beer and Politics

If it combines beer and politics, you can be sure that Ryan Tiberius Krill will be in attendance. (No, that’s not actually his middle name.)

He was in DC this past week for the Guild’s annual Chamber Walk, an informal meeting with NJ’s federal and state legislators.

“It’s definitely more about beer than politics,” Ryan tells us. “It’s a way for the Guild to thank our legislators for the hard work they put in all year, for us and for the people of New Jersey.”

Held at the Marriott Wardman Park, it was the fourth year Ryan’s headed down there for the Chamber Walk, and “this year was the best,” according to Ryan.

Senator Booker and Senator Menendez were both in attendance, as well as six Congressmen and Phil Murphy — the current frontrunner to become New Jersey’s next governor.

Senator Booker loves Cape May, but, since he’s the model of health and fitness in the Senate, he doesn’t drink. Ryan’s working on that — at least enough to get him down to the brewery.

However, even though the night was meant to be more social than political, Ryan never wastes a chance to talk up New Jersey’s breweries to our elected officials — and the only thing he wanted to talk about was the CBMTRA — the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.

During the last session of Congress, all of New Jersey’s Congressmen and Senators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, but with the new session that began in 2017, all of that work begins anew.

“My goal is to have everyone signed on,” Ryan says, “and we’re on target to have everybody back.”

Sweet! New Jersey’s elected officials have been looking out for us little guys, and we couldn’t be more proud that these fourteen people are tirelessly working on our behalf.

Well… not all that “tirelessly.” They did take some time out of their busy schedules to have some of the best beer New Jersey has to offer. Thankfully, there are some perks to the otherwise thankless job of being in Congress.

Ryan was back in DC this week to speak at USBevX and will be back down for the BA’s Hill Climb in April.

In the meantime, check out some of his pictures below!

Ryan and Senator Cory Booker
Ryan and Rep. Tom MacArthur
Ryan and Rep. Donald Norcross and Eric Orlando of Kaufman Zita
Ryan and Rep. Leonard Lance
Ryan and State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez
Ryan and Assemblymen VanDrew and Andrejczak

Ryan Krill goes to Washington… again…

If you’re a person who doesn’t love conferences, we don’t know what to tell you. You get to spend a few days hanging out with like-minded people who are all there to learn a thing or two about your industry.

Well, maybe it’s just our industry that has fun conferences. Because, as you know, our industry has beer.

Nonetheless, we have the feeling that even if Ryan had never switched careers and was still in real estate, he could make any conference a good time.

Lucky for you, he’s not in real estate. He’s in brewing. And we think the attendees at this year’s USBevX will be pretty lucky, too.

Held in Washington DC — which is quickly becoming Ryan’s home-away-from-home — the USBevX Wine and Beverage Expo was first held last year, bringing together professionals from the wine and craft beverage industries. Held next week, the conference is coupled with a trade show featuring over 150 of the industry’s suppliers, the week offers a chance for authorities in the industry to have an in-depth discussion on the volatile business environment for alcoholic beverage producers.

This year’s theme is “The Quality Revolution” — and if you’re looking for someone who knows about quality, you come to CMBC. This year’s conference will look at “quality-driven” trends in the market and their impact on the beverage industry.

Ryan’s looking forward to his time at BevX. “It should be a great time,” he tells us. “I’m looking forward to seeing some colleagues in the other parts of the alcohol beverage manufacturing industry.”

He’ll be speaking at a few panels this year. “Social Media Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Keep Making” sounds like something he knows quite a bit about — you know, after all, he was smart enough to start this blog! Seriously though, under his guidance, our social media has been blowing up lately, and with Courtney Rosenberg at the helm, we’ve been kickin’ ass and takin’ names.

He’s also speaking at “The Political Horizon for Wine & Craft Beverages”. With his extraordinary work with the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Ryan is an obvious choice for this panel — he’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s happening both in Trenton and Washington. This panel will explore how the different industries have been working together and the role guilds can play.

Ryan’s looking forward to having a Cape May IPA on the expo floor and talking to vendors. And it looks like he’ll have his hands full there! Just looking at the vendor list, we can see a barrel vendor — who couldn’t possibly beat Skyler — and a few packaging vendors.

Sounds like it’s gonna be a great time! We’re sure he’ll find something there that will make our brews better in some way. And when he does, we’ll tell you about it here. Check back!

CMBC Inaugurates a President

Ryan was in DC this past week, and for once it wasn’t to bend the ears of our legislators, influencing their votes on upcoming resolutions.

There was only one event in Washington this week that had the eyes of the world: the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. Ryan was invited as a VIP guest on Thursday night at the Washington Court Hotel for the Inagural Gala hosted by the New Jersey State Society — the organization that serves as the link between Washington, DC and individuals and organizations with business, social, or political ties to New Jersey.

Regardless of where you stand on the ideological spectrum, a party is a party. And when you’ve got CMBC pouring, then it’s a good party.

“It was a great night,” Ryan tells us. “It was an honor to be invited, and an even greater thrill to bring along some CMBC brews for our elected officials.”

Our flagship IPA and our Jersey Fresh Honey Porter were in bottles at the event. The night was Boardwalk-themed, so Ryan also brought along some CMBC swag for game prizes.

Governor Christie and his wife Mary Pat were on hand as Honorary Chairs. Ryan saw Congressmen MacArthur and Lance, but left politics on the back burner for the evening, in the interest of having a good time.

Check out his pictures below!


Ryan on What’s On Tap?

Ryan recently sat down with the good folks over at What’s On Tap?. Hosted by Gary Monterosso — he’s the author of Artisan Beer, a frequent guest on Eye Opener Philly and 10!, and has hosted a segment for the History Channel — they discussed all the goings-on at CMBC, including the Barrel Aged Series, Three Plows, and our new Credo Card.

Ryan brought along Boughs of Barley, which the hosts agreed that they think the brew will become more vinous and caramel-y as the brew matures. He opened The Scupper, which Gary proclaimed “lovely.” They tasted Three Plows: Gary thought it was “earthy, good stuff.”

South Jersey News, Weather, Sports, & Entertainment

Ryan on the Government Affairs Committee

If you know someone more political than Ryan, your last name’s probably Kennedy.

That’s why it came as no surprise to any of us when he was asked to serve on the Brewers Association’s Government Affairs Committee.

“It’s a huge honor,” Ryan says. “It’s some national recognition of the work I’ve been doing with the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, as well as some of the time and effort I’ve put in with the BA in the past. I’m excited to contribute to the BA in a more meaningful way.”

Ryan has attended the BA’s annual Hill Climb — meeting with New Jersey’s legislators in DC — for the past three years, advocating on behalf of New Jersey’s craft beer scene.

These activities are what brought him to the attention of Brewers Association CEO and President, Bob Pease. Ryan had voiced interest with the BA in serving on a committee, specifying that he’d like to be on the Government Affairs committee.

“That’s a pretty sought-after committee,” said Bob. “When we had some openings on the committee, there was some discussion amongst myself and the committee chair, and I said I thought Ryan would be an excellent addition.”

The BA looks for many things when considering committee membership: geographic representation and brewery size and age. “Ryan was checking a lot of those boxes for us: smaller brewery, East Coast, and somewhat on the younger side.

“I think Ryan will do great. He’s calm, he’s measured, he’s intelligent. He speaks not just to hear his own voice: he’s got something to say. I’m confident that he’ll do really well.”

As part of the Government Affairs Committee, Ryan will be working closely with the House Small Brewers Caucus and the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus — two groups in Congress pledging to assist small craft brewers such as CMBC.

With S. 1562, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, currently working its way through Congress, he’s got his work cut out for him. We’ve talked about the CBMTRA before — its primary aim is to cut the federal excise tax liability of craft brewers, allowing them to invest more money in equipment, staff, and, ultimately, bringing you more of the brews you love.

Apparently, Ryan’s done a pretty decent job in New Jersey. Both of our Senators and eleven of our twelve Congressmen have signed on as sponsors.

Speaking of which, if you live in the 6th District — parts of Middlesex and Monmouth counties — you should hit up your congressman, Frank Pallone, and let him know you’d like him to sign on. It’s easy enough to do — go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/, enter your ZIP code, and shoot Congressman Pallone an email.

Ryan is looking forward to working with his “indie craft brewer brethren” on national-level government affairs issues. “There is so much to learn and the group is filled with really smart people,” he says.

Well, it looks like they just added one more.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with all the goings-on at the state and federal level. Legislation is moving forward at both levels, and with Ryan fighting the good fight, we’re sure we’ll have more to report.

Cutting the Red Tape

Ryan flew up to Rutgers in New Brunswick on Tuesday to testify in front of the Red Tape Review Commission. Helmed by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, the mission of the RTRC is to create a business climate in New Jersey that facilitates job creation. They’re targeting burdensome regulations so that the business-to-government interaction is seamless and productive, while protecting public health, safety, and the environment.

“I got a giant novelty pair of scissors and CUT TAPE!” Ryan said. “I got a giant piece of tape and I cut it!”

He totally did. (No, not really.)

However, the legislation surrounding craft breweries may as well be bound in red tape.

“It went really well,” he said. “We spoke about our issues. I spoke from the heart, and to be able to raise our issues in front of someone in the Lieutenant Governor’s position is a great honor.”

Ryan was joined by the Guild’s Government Affairs Representative, Eric Orlando of Kaufman Zita Group. Willow Creek Winery and Diane Wieland, Director of Tourism for Cape May County, were on hand as well. Ryan reports that Diane’s testimony was much the same as his: that the restrictions on breweries should be lifted to be along the same lines as wineries.

“Neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania have already blazed a trail in recent years towards finding ways government can help, not hinder, the development of their homegrown craft beverage industries,” Eric says. “New Jersey’s elected officials, like those which sit on the Red Tape Review Commission, including the Lt. Governor, should use these states and others as the templates for fixing an alcohol beverage control system which does not recognize the realities and trends of the state’s craft beer, wine and spirits industries.”

We like to look at the alcoholic beverage industry in New Jersey as a cohesive whole, encompassing breweries, wineries, and distilleries. It only makes sense, as we’re all doing the same basic thing: producing an alcoholic product that people enjoy drinking.

However, the regulations surrounding the different products are quite different.

As you know, breweries in New Jersey are mandated to require a tour. There’s no such rule for wineries or the pending legislation for meaderies or cideries. We don’t mind showing you around — in fact, we love doing it! — but requiring you to take a tour on every, single visit is just a bit much. Our self-guided tour fills the need rather nicely — you have no choice but to walk through it — but why aren’t wineries required to do the same?

A further point of contention is our ability to serve food. Our visitors’ safety is our utmost concern, and while it’s a well-known fact that food absorbs alcohol and slows the rate of intoxication, we’re prohibited from serving so much as a bag of chips. Wineries, however, can serve seven-course meals. That’s not only unfair, it’s dangerous.

Our allowed entertainment differs, too. You may have noticed that we’ve got Pandora going and an old movie playing on Netflix on our gigantic projection screen. That’s not by choice — that’s all we’re allowed to show. How great would it be to get bands down here? How much fun would it be to get a comedy act once in awhile? Well… we can’t. But wineries can.

If it sounds like sour grapes — pun intended — it is. Breweries are treated like the red-headed stepchild of the liquor industry in New Jersey, and it’s high time it’s come to an end. We’re not even asking for special treatment — all we want is to be treated on the same level playing field as the rest of the industry.

Ryan’s testimony appears to be working. There are plans afoot to create a summit, gathering together the state’s wineries, breweries, distilleries, and possible restaurants to come to some sort of an understanding.

“The Guild would love to take the lead on these endeavors,” Eric notes.

Let’s face it: there’s a lot of common ground, here. There are a number of ways we could come together to assist each other. Beyond the obvious commonality of creating alcoholic beverages, we could conceivably partner with one of the area wineries and serve their wine in our Tasting Room and they could serve our beer in theirs. We could serve the beers of other breweries. We could partner with an area restaurant to get some tasty vittles here in the Tasting Room. We’re just spitballing here, but there are so many ways we could come together to help each other.

This summit sounds like a fantastic idea. Let’s hope that our lawmakers in Trenton take some of the suggestions we devise.

Until then, Ryan’s going to keep fighting the good fight, ensuring that New Jersey’s craft brewers have every opportunity open to them. And ensuring that you can get wider access to the great brews you’ve come to love.

Guild Meeting Recap

What happens when you get the heads of all of New Jersey’s breweries in one room together?

Beer. Beer happens. And, as you know, New Jersey’s got some of the best beer in the world.

Ryan, wearing his Garden State Craft Brewers Guild President hat, trekked up to Jersey Girl Brewing Company in Hackettstown. While these Guild meetings sound like a great time for everyone, there’s always a lot of serious business to attend to.

The first order of business: introducing our newly-minted Executive Director, Jason Carty, to the Guild.

“I was surprised at how dedicated our membership is,” Jason said. “We had about 100 members in attendance, and some of them had to drive over two hours to attend. It’s great to see such devotion and commitment from the members of the Guild.”

Jason’s really looking forward to his work with the Guild. “There was great energy in the room,” he tells us, “and I’m looking forward to working with the various committees. From planning festivals to tackling our legislative agenda, 2017 is going to be a great year.”

If the Guild can make 2017 better than 2016, we’re in for a good year. Our main event of the year — Brews by the Bay — had a record turnout, and we’ve welcomed twelve new breweries into the fold. 2016 was a year of tremendous growth in our industry, and we’re all looking forward to what 2017 will bring. With the one-two punch of Krill-Carty at the helm, we’re sure great things will be happening in New Jersey craft beer.

In addition, the Guild held elections for two open seats on the Executive Board, with Jamie Queli of Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing winning the Limited License Brewer’s seat and Kevin Walter of Iron Hill Brewery taking the uncontested Restricted License Brewer’s seat.

“I’m looking forward to having both Jamie and Kevin join me on the Executive Board,” Ryan said. “With their hard work and perseverance, 2017’s going to be a great year.”

And this year is rounding out to have some decent changes in the laws governing craft breweries. We’ve told you about Senate Bill 1334, allowing us to sell growler fills and tastings at New Jersey farmers markets. That bill is scheduled for a committee vote on Monday, the 12th. You can help by contacting the members of the committee:

Shoot these Senators an email and tell them to vote YES on the upcoming bill. Better yet, give their offices a call. It may sound trite, but your elected officials respond so much better to a phone call.

Let them know how the legislation will help the growth of state’s craft beer industry. This bill will support local farmers and allow New Jersey’s breweries to compete on the same level with breweries in other nearby states like Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. Those states already allow growler fills at farmers markets, and, if you look at the numbers from the Brewers Association, they’re absolutely killing it in terms of production and revenue.

New Jersey could join their ranks. There’s enough creativity, variety, and innovation in this state that we should be able to blow our neighbors out of the water. The Farmers Market bill is just one step in the right direction.

Make your voice heard! Contact the committee members today.

Ryan and the Roundtable

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno with Ryan
Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno with Ryan

Last week, Ryan headed to Cape May Winery for a roundtable Agritourism discussion with Cape May County wineries, distilleries, and breweries, as well as some of the leaders in New Jersey politics. Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno was on hand, as well as Anthony Minnick, Director of New Jersey’s Division of Travel & Tourism, and all of the county’s freeholders.

Ryan wore his Guild hat, representing all the state’s breweries, and his CMBC hat. With only one head, it’s difficult to do.

The day was a chance for the owners to discuss the various issues currently facing them, and how our government can help.

Ryan had previously met the Lt. Governor on several occasions, and has a high opinion of her. “Lt. Governor Guadagno is great,” Ryan says, “because she genuinely wants to help, and she’s here to make things happen.”

The intent of the day was to engage with our peers and help steer the discussion from its traditional focus on wineries and into a more inclusive discussion involving the distilleries and breweries. “It’s important to have a constant dialogue,” Ryan tells us.

“The Agri-Tourism Roundtable served as a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship and start an open discussion between state government and the growing winery and brewery industries in New Jersey,” Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said. “By working together, we can continue to strengthen local economies and create more jobs for our residents.”

Primarily, Ryan’s focus of the day was to address the disparity in regulation between wineries and breweries. While the wineries have a great deal of regulation to deal with on their own, they seem to have quite a bit more leeway than the rest of us.

Ryan waits to speak to Lt. Governor Guadagno
Ryan waits to speak to Lt. Governor Guadagno

“Wineries are different,” Ryan says, “but we would like parity. There’s no reason someone should be able to go to a winery and have to do things differently than you do at a brewery. For instance, at breweries you have to get a tour, and we can’t serve food, so there’s all these gray areas with beer, and we want to have them all aligned.”

It only seems fair that if we’re all basically doing the same thing and attempting to achieve the same goals that we should all have to play by the same rules. It doesn’t make sense that a winery can serve you a seven-course meal paired beautifully with their wine selections where we get slapped on the wrist if we attempt to sell you a bag of Herr’s.

However, fighting the long-established special interest groups in New Jersey is always an uphill climb. As with just about everything these days, everybody has issues, and everybody’s issues are the most important. Sometimes, it’s difficult to be heard in a melee of self-interest. 

“To have been invited to the table and to have been listened to is huge,” Ryan says. “It says how far we’ve come in a short period of time.”

There’s more work to be done, but “people are paying attention to breweries.”

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