$11,562 is a big difference.

And it was that price drop for a license that has resulted in a healthy uptick in the number of New Jersey distilleries over the past few years.

Several now dot the Garden State, manufacturing their unique takes on the classic hard stuff like gin, rum, vodka and whiskey.

"Not only are they providing a place and a product for visitors, but they're also generating jobs and income and tax dollars for the state," said Donna Albano, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management studies at Stockton University, who spoke with several distillery operators in the state as she and a colleague created a chapter to be featured in a 2017 textbook on craft beverages.

The influx of distilleries was kickstarted in Aug. 2013 when Gov. Chris Christie signed a measure into law that allowed smaller distillers - those who produce 20,000 gallons or less of liquor per year - to purchase an annual license for $938, a significant drop from the $12,500 per year price tag that applied to all distillers no matter the production volume.

That same year, Jersey Artisan Distilling opened its doors in Fairfield, becoming the first licensed establishment of its kind in New Jersey since Prohibition.

Owner and master distiller Brant Braue said his company wrote and crafted the legislation signed by Christie, which also allows for tours and tasting rooms.

According to Braue, there are a dozen or so distilleries in the state. He's pushing New Jersey residents to check them out and support the industry.

"Everybody has a different flavor and each one has something to offer," Braue said.

Jersey Artisan's most unique offering is a rum sorbet, available at New Jersey's beach bars, Braue said. They also produce three varieties of rum and a sorghum whiskey.

As the most recently opened distillery in the state, Little Water Distillery in Atlantic City has an open house scheduled Saturday to give locals a snapshot of who they are and what they offer. They're already on the market with a whiskey and plan to begin producing a series of rums by early January.

"It's selling like hotcakes," CEO Mark Genter said of their Whitecap American Whiskey.

An apple pie moonshine is just one of several items on the menu at Great Notch Distillery in Wyckoff.

However, their creations can only be tasted by purchasing them from the local businesses to which they distribute. Local policy blocks Great Notch from offering tours and tastings, owner Randy Pratt said.

Pleas to overturn the rules have been unsuccessful, he said.

"It might mean that I have to move my location unless Wyckoff comes around to see what a wonderful thing this is," Pratt said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come into town and not only visit the distillery, but to take their money to other businesses in town."

Other New Jersey distillery locations include the Black Prince Distillery in Clifton, Cape May Distillery, Claremont Distillery and Jersey Spirits Distillery in Fairfield, Cooper River Distillers in Camden, two Lazy Eye Distillery locations in Richland and Wildwood, and Pine Tavern Distillery in Monroeville.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.