I love craft breweries because they are small businesses that are the backbone of our economy, they invest in the local community making it more prosperous and, most importantly —they make delicious beer.

Craft breweries are small businesses that are the backbone of the economy and they create more jobs than huge corporations ever will. The owners are plucky entrepreneurs who have a strong strain of self-reliance and a can-do attitude that is sorely needed in New Jersey. These small businesses are an economic benefit because they increase tourism and increase revenue for the state. However, regulations in New Jersey are making it difficult for craft breweries to operate and thrive because legislators are doing the bidding of big business. Big business is afraid that craft breweries will cut into their profit by drawing consumers away. These big businesses can afford to give large donations to political campaigns as well as send lobbyists to Trenton to influence politicians who then enact laws and regulations that favor those who donate over others. I have always been confused by this. New Jersey is a “blue state” with the Democrats, for the most part, having sway over politics. Supposedly the Dems are on the side of the little guy and the common man, but they then enact legislation to hurt small business owners. The notion that any of our politicians care about the little guy is just a tired old trope that they pull out to pander to their base when they need votes. 

Most of the regulations placed on craft breweries have nothing to do with safety or creating a good product. They are there to prevent them from competing with larger, more politically powerful big businesses. For instance, they can not: sell coffee, sell food, offer a free drink to a patron (as a gesture of goodwill), or permit a happy hour. There are numerous other regulations, which only apply to craft breweries, including limiting the number of events they can hold, limiting the number of televisions they can have, and mandating that each craft brewery participates in a tour of the business.

It should be noted that craft wineries, bars, and restaurants do not have to abide by any of these crazy rules and regulations — just craft breweries. With all this over-regulation the owner of a small craft brewery doesn’t stand a chance. The over-regulation of this industry will eventually put many of them out of business. What will be left will be big businesses and large corporations.

The local community benefits from craft breweries because they create jobs and are a source of tax revenue. There is a benefit to other small business owners as well. Food trucks, musicians, and other peripheral small businesses would be able to sell their products at craft breweries having a positive effect that would ripple outward to other local businesses. However, regulations are preventing any of this from happening thereby reducing the potential the prosperity of all.

Moreover, craft breweries make delicious beer. It is a treat for me when I can drink a beer that is not mass-produced. Sure, when I want something quick and easy I stop off at the local watering hole and grab a six-pack of (fill in the blank with any old run-of-the-mill mass-produced beverage) to get me through some event with friends. There is nothing wrong with mediocre swill. However, the quality ingredients, wide variety and loving care that goes into craft beers make them a treat to drink. For people like me who like something different, something better, craft beers are the way to go.

If politicians and the government got out of the way more people could start their own businesses and make money to feed their families. With these cumbersome regulations, it is difficult for small business owners to stay in business and it is even more difficult to start one. The dream of starting your own business goes by the wayside and because of government regulations, business is kept, well, big. If these small businesses were left alone they could grow and have a positive effect on other small businesses, as well as the local community, increasing the prosperity of all.

In the last few years, politicians forced everyone to stay in their homes and small business owners were affected the most by these draconian measures. Many small businesses were put out of business for good because of the financial strain. The lockdowns and over-regulation are a one-two punch that craft breweries may not recover from. I choose not to believe that politicians have the best interest of “the little guy” anymore. These regulations on craft breweries only stifle the economy and prevent people from making a living as well as crafting delicious, tasty beer.