Microbreweries as a Microcosm

Today’s lesson from the Crossroads of New Jersey to our state legislators: DROP THE ATTITUDE

New Jersey’s microbrewery and brewpub laws provide a study in microcosm of what is wrong with the government of our state – and our country.

Over the summer, Craig Coughlin, Assemblyman for New Jersey’s 19th Legislative District, wrote in his local newspaper that he is a primary sponsor of legislation (A3969) that “will allow the state’s breweries and brewpubs to boost production, sales and marketing opportunities… We need to update the state’s antiquated micro-brewing laws.”

But when you examine the new bill, you soon realize it is not “updated” in one respect: It STILL reflects the attitude present in the “antiquated” law…an attitude that crosses party lines…an attitude based on philosophy of government.

Many Americans believe, as our nation’s founders did, that our rights come from God – not from the government – and that we the people prefer to make our own decisions and face the consequences thereof, with government stepping in only to protect individual rights and national borders.

On the other hand, there are those in this country who love nothing more enacting laws telling everyone else what to do, such as taxing and regulating our earnings, savings, property, and businesses. They even presume to tell us how to educate our children (public school system only, thank you) and manage our medical affairs (ObamaCare).  It’s possible the folks in Trenton and D.C. mean well, but the fact remains that micromanaging the lives of citizens does more harm than good…because they don’t know what’s best for us. Only we know that.

Under the “antiquated” law, “brewpubs and microbreweries face tight restrictions, even on things as mundane as what they can use their property for. Breweries in New Jersey aren’t allowed to host certain special events, something wineries can do. Visitors taking a tour can only buy two six-packs to take home,” the Star Ledger reported on August 14, 2011.

“Those laws are unique to New Jersey,” the Ledger quoted Greg Zaccardi, the owner of High Point microbrewery in Butler. “We compete with brewers from neighboring states that have much more supportive laws.”  Now, class, where have we heard of a similar situation?

Under the “updated” law, the brewpubs and microbreweries will get lower taxes (the law calls them “fees” but hey, if it walks like a duck, etc…then QUACK!) And the brewers will be allowed to do more things to sell their products.  But the brewers will still face taxes and the state will still dictate how the brewer can conduct its sales.

Should the owners of microbreweries and brewpubs bow down, like Wayne Campbell & Garth Algar, saying “Oh, thank you O great and mighty legislators, for giving us permission to conduct our business? We’re not worthy! We suck! We’re scum!

OF COURSE they shouldn’t! The legislators’ attitude has not changed one bit!

The Ledger also reported Gene Muller, president of Flying Fish microbrewery in Camden County, commenting on New Jersey’s rank as 32nd in the nation for craft beer production: “It’s kind of depressing. We can do a lot better than that.”

Indeed. New Jersey and our beloved U.S. of A. CAN do a lot better – if our legislators would just drop the attitude.


Nora Brower lives near a brewpub but does not drink beer. She believes our Founding Fathers drank beer and whiskey to cope with the insanity of British colonial government. Unfortunately for her, she has to deal with the insanity of modern U.S. government stone cold sober!

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