Understanding the Types of New Jersey Liquor Licenses

If you own a business that sells, distributes, or serves alcohol to customers or patrons, you should have a basic understanding of the types of New Jersey liquor license. A liquor license is a state-issue license that allows a business to lawfully sell or distribute any alcohol. A business that sells alcohol without a liquor license can face penalties and sanctions for serving alcohol without legal authorization. New Jersey has some of the most restrictive laws surrounding liquor licenses in the country. Consider contacting a restaurant law attorney at Yates Law, LLC, to understand the complex issues surrounding liquor licenses in New Jersey and assist you in obtaining an alcoholic beverage license. Call today to scheule a consultation.

Types of New Jersey Liquor License

Liquor licenses in New Jersey can be broken down into three categories:

  1. Retail licenses (Class C)
  2. Wholesale licenses (Class B)
  3. Manufacturing licenses (Class A)

In New Jersey, liquor licenses that allow alcohol-serving establishments and other businesses to manufacture, wholesale, and retail alcoholic beverages are issued by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and local municipalities.

Classes A, B, and C of New Jersey Liquor Licenses

New Jersey’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control oversees all liquor license applications and renewals in the state. These include liquor licenses issued to restaurants, diners, bars, pubs, nightclubs, wineries, breweries, and other establishments and facilities that manufacture, distribute, wholesale, sell, and serve alcoholic beverages.

There are three different classes of liquor licenses in New Jersey:

Retail Liquor License (Class C)

Retail liquor licenses account for the vast majority of all alcoholic beverage licenses issued in the state. This class of liquor licenses includes the following types of licenses:

  • Plenary Retail Distribution License
  • Plenary Retail Consumption License
  • Plenary Retail Consumption License with Broad Package Privilege
  • Seasonal Retail Consumption License
  • Hotel/Motel License
  • Club Licenses

Manufacturing Liquor Licenses (Class A)

Facilities and businesses that manufacture alcohol in the State of New Jersey must apply for a manufacturing liquor license (Class A). These licenses can be broken down into the following subtypes:

  • Limited Distillery
  • Supplementary Limited Distillery
  • Plenary Distillery
  • Plenary Winery
  • Farm Winery
  • Limited Brewery
  • Plenary Brewery
  • Bonded Warehouse Bottling

Wholesale Liquor Licenses (Class B)

Distributors of alcohol that sell exclusively to retail licensees must apply for a wholesale liquor license (Class B) in the State of New Jersey. Types of New Jersey liquor license under the Class B category include:

  • Wine Wholesale
  • Limited Wholesale
  • Plenary Wholesale
  • State Beverage Distributor

In New Jersey, those who want to own a liquor license and purchase alcohol products to resell them to others under a liquor license privilege must be at least 18 years of age.

What Alcoholic Beverages Require a New Jersey Liquor License?

Under New Jersey law, you must obtain a liquor license if you manufacture, sell, wholesale, or serve alcoholic beverages. But what constitutes an “alcoholic beverage” under the liquor license law? The Alcoholic Beverage Control Handbook issued by the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety defines an alcoholic beverage as fluids or solids that can be turned into a fluid for consumption if its alcohol content is at least 1/2 of 1% by volume. Alcoholic beverages that fall under this definition include:

  • Beer
  • Ale
  • Lager
  • Porter
  • Blended wine
  • Sparkling wine
  • Treated wine
  • Naturally fermented wine
  • Blended distilled liquors
  • Distilled liquors
  • Any mixture of the above mentioned

You do not require a liquor license if you manufacture, sell, or serve alcohol-containing foods that cannot be turned into a liquid for consumption or any beverages that contain less than 1/2 of 1% of alcohol by volume. Consider consulting with an experienced attorney at Yates Law, LLC, if you are in doubt about whether or not you need a liquor license in your specific case.

Documents That Must Be Maintained by a Liquor Licensee in New Jersey

There are specific types of documents that a licensee must keep on the licensed premises in New Jersey to present them to persons empowered to enforce the state’s alcoholic beverage control laws. Under New Jersey Administrative Code § 13:2-23.13, the documents that any holder of the retail liquor license must maintain and present to authorized persons include:

  1. A valid liquor license certificate, which must be posted in plain view on the licensed premises;
  2. A copy of the license application with amendments, if any;
  3. A copy of the last full retail liquor license application;
  4. A complete list of all individuals currently employed by the business and working on the licensed premises;
  5. Copies of invoices and delivery slips (these must be kept on file for at least a year);
  6. Accounting records, business receipts, monetary transactions, ledgers, and other documents and records that fall under the category of books of account (these records must be retained for five years);
  7. Transaction records/placements by a registered display service; and
  8. The Sales Tax Certificate of Authority number.

A liquor licensee must be able to show these records and documents to a person who has the authority to enforce alcoholic beverage control laws.

Restaurant Law Attorney in New Jersey

New Jersey liquor law can be both complicated and complex, which is why you might want to consider consulting with a restaurant law attorney in New Jersey. Restaurant law attorneys are trained to expedite the process of obtaining and renewing liquor licenses so that their clients can get their business up and running as soon as possible. Delays or complications that may arise when issuing a liquor license can result in substantial financial losses.

At Yates Law, LLC, our experienced legal team can help you understand the different types of New Jersey liquor licenses and assist in the preparation of the necessary documents and records to apply for and renew liquor licenses to manufacture, sell, wholesale, distribute, and serve alcoholic beverages in the State of New Jersey. We help clients navigate the complicated process of obtaining a liquor license and making sure that they comply with all requirements and licensing procedures. We also defend clients facing a citation for violation of liquor license regulations in New Jersey. Schedule a consultation with our attorney at Yates Law, LLC today.