The New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Commission has issued new rules to limit microbreweries' on-site events to 25 annually.

New Jersey Brewers Association President Jamie Queli said the group has been involved in a tug-of-war with restaurant operators on this issue. She said the ABC has been getting a lot of feedback: "They were receiving a lot of calls and complaints from a lot of organizations, like the New Jersey Restaurant Association and the licensed beverage holders."

The restriction is meant to prevent microbreweries from acting too much like bars or restaurants — which are subject to different regulations than the breweries.

The ABC also ruled the microbreweries cannot provide take-out menus from restaurants or host more than 52 private parties yearly. Queli said some smaller association members may be hurt by that — "there are some smaller breweries that very much like their live entertainment."

And according to the state ruling from the ABC, the microbreweries also cannot show sports on television unless it counts as one of their 25 special events.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Director David Rible said the ruling is a "pilot," put in place for 6 months while a more permanent set of rules can be enacted through a formal rule-making process that will include public hearings.

Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. was quick to react negatively to the ABC ruling. In a statement, Cappelli called the measures "capricious and arbitrary" and saiy they should "be reassessed post haste to strengthen the industry and support these operations. This is not the kind of business climate our state should be promoting and we need to do more to support small business, not create restrictions for these local entrepreneurs."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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