New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Licensing – Douglas W. Lubic, Esq.

By Brian Lemay No comments

New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Informational Hi I’m Doug Lubic. I’m a shareholder with
the Wilentz firm practicing in corporate and transactional matters. If you want to own
a bar, restaurant or liquor store in New Jersey, or more precisely, a business that sells beer,
wine or liquor, either at retail or by the drink, you must have a liquor license. New Jersey is different from many states in
that a number of liquor licenses is limited. So usually your business would have to purchase
a liquor license from another license holder. Unfortunately, there are no beer or wine permits
in New Jersey so a license is needed for any business that sells alcoholic beverages. That
is why New Jersey convenience stores generally do not sell beer as they do in many other
States. The number of licenses available is limited within each town, where many licenses
are available such as in old industrial towns like Perth Amboy, liquor licenses may be very
inexpensive on the order of $10,000. Where few licenses are available such as in rural
areas that have grown in population dramatically like Colts Neck, license prices can soar to
many hundreds of thousands of dollars. From time to time, towns can issue additional licenses
based on population growth, but typically these are sold at auction and fetch prices
comparable to those for sales of existing licenses. There are a number of different
types of licenses having different capabilities so care must be exercised in purchasing the
correct type of license. It would not do to pay for a seasonal license if you have a year-round
business. Or for a license which permits the sale of packaged goods from behind the bar
when you don’t intend to do that. There are special types of businesses for which new
licenses can be issued, such as hotels and airports but they are subject to specific
requirements. Applications for the transfer or relocation of a liquor license are handled
by the town in which the license is located subject to the oversight of the State Division
of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Each owner of the proposed license holder must be subjected
to fingerprinting and a background check. You must exercise great care in choosing your
partners. If you pass the background check, notice of the transfer is published twice
and the town’s governing body will act on the application at one of its regularly scheduled
meetings. The entire process usually takes between 6 and 10 weeks, largely depending
on how quickly the background check proceeds. In New Jersey enforcement of alcoholic beverage
rules is shared by the State and local authorities. The application process is an important opportunity
to get to know the officials in your town who will be responsible for enforcing the
rules and responding to complaints about your business. It is important that your application
give a good impression to get your relationship with the town off to a good start. We are
eager to advise you as to the type of license you need, whether there are special licenses
that could apply to your situation and the best structure for your ownership entity.
We can shepherd your application through the approval process as painlessly as possible.
Should you be faced with violations, we can assist you with appeals at both the State
and local levels as well. If you have any questions about liquor licenses,
please feel free to give me a call at (732) 855-6408 or email me at [email protected]
Thank you. 2
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