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By Fred Barnes

The purchase of a liquor license allows the owner the privilege of selling alcoholic beverages to the public. A cottage industry has developed that allows unlicensed restaurants to permit the consumption of beer and wine that has been brought into the establishment by the customer. This practice known as BYOB is strictly controlled by NJSA 2C:33-27.

The statute does not allow an admission fee or cover, corkage or service charge or “advertise inside or outside of such premises that patrons may bring and consume their own wine or malt alcoholic beverages in a portion of the premises open to the public”.

The problem that is most reported to the office is the violation of the non-advertising provisions of the statute. Pick up any newspaper and you will find unlicensed business advertising that they allow BYOB. We have encouraged our membership to forward copies of such advertisements so that the office can notify the local law enforcement and the ABC of such violations. Often a warning that such conduct is prohibited cures the problem. However, many police departments give a low priority to the enforcement of the statute and no action is taken.

Keeping a level playing field is important to the stability of the industry. For that reason, every licensee must be aware of the actions being taken by their local authorities. Towns can prohibit any unlicensed establishment from allowing the consumption of wine and beer on their premises. Restrictions can be placed in the ordinance such as training in the handling of alcoholic beverages and such other provision that will protect the health and safety of the community. If your town is thinking about a BYOB ordinance, please contact the office so we can suggest ways to make the ordinance work best in the interest of the on-premise licensees.


The 77 th annual Convention is scheduled for September 29-30, 2009 at Resorts International in Atlantic City. NJLSA will be joining us a co-host. Call the office today to register for the Convention. (1.800.LBA.0076)

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