TRENTON, N.J. – Governor Phil Murphy’s erratic “non-essential” business closures took another strange turn on Wednesday when the state ABC informed brewers and distillers that they could not offer home delivery.
The Garden State’s booming craft beer and distilling industry is extremely popular; many of these small businesses had hoped to minimize their losses by offering home delivery services.
“Unfortunately we found out this morning that NJ breweries are no longer allowed to deliver. However our guild is working on hopefully restoring that ability so we will keep you posted if things change,” explained Double Nickel Brewing Company based in Pennsauken via its Facebook page.
“Donate 5 min of your time to help us stay in business. Call your legislator,” said the Junghandle Brewing Co. of Tinton Falls on its own Facebook page, offering fans a link to find legislators’ contact information.
It’s unclear why the state would prohibit home delivery of beer since restaurants are currently permitted to deliver food; with bars and restaurants shuttered to in-store diners, craft beer fans were at a loss on Wednesday to understand the possible reason for this latest imperious move by Trenton amid the ongoing COVID-19 panic.
The New Jersey bar and restaurant lobby is a powerful one, frequently sparring with the state’s burgeoning wineries and breweries in recent years and attempting to regulate them to death.
New Jersey is currently one of the country’s least free states as Wuhan China Virus cases continue to increase statewide. Governor Murphy has even urged state residents to dime each other out to the police if they observe any violations of his draconian “stay at home” executive order. Violators face criminal penalties – including possible jail time – for hosting social gatherings or operating private businesses which are supposed to be closed.