New Jersey Allows, Then Blocks, Deliveries From Breweries and Distilleries

Takeout and delivery orders are the only thing keeping the state's 115 craft breweries afloat during the coronavirus outbreak.


One of the few heartening trends to emerge from America's battle against the COVID-19 outbreak has been the sweeping aside of rules that never made much sense in the first place. Like the prohibitions that kept licensed workers from doing the same job in a different state, or the regulations that limited telemedicine.

In many places, some of the last vestiges of Prohibition are disappearing, as states and cities legalize the sale of beer, wine, and cocktails to-go. With restaurants, bars, and breweries under mandatory shutdown orders, it's really the least that officials could do to give those establishments a fighting chance to survive until the pandemic passes.

But in New Jersey, breweries and distilleries have been left out of the newfound coronavirus-induced booze freedom. When Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, issued an executive order on Saturday ordering all non-essential businesses in the state to close, the order allowed restaurants, bars, and liquor stores to remain open as long as they only serve customers with takeout and delivery orders. Breweries and distilleries initially believed they would be allowed to operate in the same fashion, but officials clarified on Wednesday that they weren't. The governor's order, reports, allows alcohol deliveries only by businesses that were already licensed to deliver food.

That might doom New Jersey's 115 craft breweries.

"The fact that the state of New Jersey is allowing us to do pickups and deliveries is the only reason that we're still in business right now," Mike Jones, owner of Hackensack Brewing Company, tells "If we can't deliver, we're going to be shutting our doors."

Part of the issue is a question about the limits of a governor's emergency powers. Alexis Degan, executive director for the New Jersey Brewers Association, tells Forbes that Murphy is trying to find a way to keep breweries open and that the state legislature may need to be called into session to enact a quick fix.

That's a good reminder that even during emergencies, executive action should be subject to the constitutionally mandated balancing of powers. But it's also evidence of the damage that nonsensical regulations can do. If breweries had been allowed to sell carry-out beer all along, lawmakers wouldn't have to scramble to fix those rules now.

"In an era where you can get nearly any product under the sun delivered to your door within a few hours, it makes little sense to exclude alcohol," writes C. Jarrett Dieterle, an alcohol policy expert with the R Street Institute. "Even in a pandemic-free world, allowing alcohol delivery would be a win-win that helps both producers and consumers."

NEXT: No, British Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson Has Not 'Drastically Downgraded' His Worst-Case Projection of COVID-19 Deaths

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  1. The minute this lunacies blows over, they will slap these and more rules back in place.
    For “safety”.

    1. I am making a good salary from home $1200-$2500/week , which is amazing, under a year back I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone, Here is what I do. Follow details…… Read More  

  2. The other night I lay sleeping
    And I woke from a terrible dream
    So I ordered Jack Daniels to go
    With a side of Jimmy Beam

    1. Please maintain at least 6 feet from your Old Granddad while drinking alone.

  3. Any guesses where the looting will begn?

    1. Or begin?
      Or beg in?
      I don’t even know what I type anymore – – – –

    2. They closed all the bars in Wisconsin. I’m shocked it didn’t start riots in the streets.

    3. The government started the looting with the stimulus package. They will give you $1200 dollars and extract that and more with everything you buy for the rest of your life by the inflation this will cause. People on a fixed income are screwed. Not a great deal.

  4. Constitution ? We don’t need no stinking constitution.

  5. How can you let these micro-breweries send out beer to go? We need to protect the little guys here, like the distributors and AB-Inbev.

  6. What I’m afraid the truth might be from the little the Forbes piece goes into it is that the constitutions of many states allow the governor to prohibit you from doing things during an emergency, but not to allow you to do extra things during an emergency. Or maybe any time at all.

    1. We need to take a hard look at whatever statutory authority allows these dickhead governors to destroy peoples businesses. This ain’t an invasion it’s the fucking flu and it looks like it’s going to be a pretty ordinary flu season at this point. If they can destroy your livelihood over this we’ve entered into full on dictatorship with no defined limits. It’s time to be afraid. Very afraid.

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  8. Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everY one. Work for three to eight hrs a day and start getting paid in the range of 7,000-14,000 dollars a this link…. Read More

  9. Beer is food. Alcoholic drinks are an important part of many cultures. It’s criminal that the state would stop beer deliveries from breweries while allowing all manner of frivolous items to be delivered as “food.”

    I wish some breweries would just do it anyway so we’d get a test of this in court.

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