Published on:

Understanding the Various Types of New Jersey Liquor Licenses

In New Jersey, you cannot sell alcohol unless you have a license issued by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  New Jersey issues many types of licenses which broadly fall within three general categories:  Manufacturing Licenses, Retail Licenses, and Wholesale Licenses.   Each license is attached to the “Licensed Premises,” and any change in the location or size or configuration of the Licensed Premises requires a place to place transfer application to  be filed and approved before changes to the Licensed Premises can be completed.   This transfer application is substantially the same as the process for transfer of ownership of the license.  While the majority of licenses issued by the State of New Jersey fall into the Retail Licenses category, Manufacturing Licenses (designated as Class A licenses) include Brewery, Winery and Distillery Licenses which are a growing category.  Wholesale Licenses (designated as Class B licenses) apply to wholesale distribution of alcoholic beverages to retail licensees.

The Retail Licenses (designated as Class C licenses) are issued to bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. There are 11 different types of New Jersey Liquor Licenses which fall within the Retail License categories:

Plenary Retail Consumption License (identified by license number 33): This license permits the liquor license holder to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption at the licensed premises, and the sale of packaged goods for consumption off premises, the sale of packaged goods must take place in the public barroom.  This license counts toward the municipality’s population restriction which allows 1 license per 3,000 residents of a municipality based upon the most recent census data.

Plenary Retail Consumption License with “Broad Package Privilege (identified by license number 32): The difference between this license and the standard Plenary Retail Consumption License is that the packaged goods can be sold from a portion of the property which is not the public barroom.  These count toward a municipality’s population restriction on the number of licenses which can be issued.

Seasonal Retail Consumption License (identified by license number 34): This is similar to a Plenary Retail Consumption License, but is not a year round license, this liquor license only permits sale of alcoholic beverages for seasonal period of time either from May 1st through November 14th or from November 15 through April 30th.   These licenses are also counted toward a municipality’s population restriction on the number of licenses.

Hotel/Motel License (identified by license number 36).  This is similar to the Plenary Retail Consumption License but is only issues to a hotel or motel with 100 or more guest rooms.  These liquor licenses are not counted toward a municipality’s population restriction on the number of licenses.

Theater License (identified by license number 37): This is a type of Plenary Retail Consumption License which may only be issued to a non-profit corporation which has musical or theater performances and a seating capacity of at least 1,000.  This liquor license authorizes the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises and only during the performances and for 2 hours prior to performance commences and 2 hours after the performance ends.  These licenses are not counted toward a municipality’s population restriction on the number of liquor licenses.

Plenary Retail Consumption License w/Brew Pub License (identified by license number 38):  This license is a combination retail consumption and manufacturing license: the owner of a standard Plenary Retail Consumption License also has a Restricted Brewery License.

Plenary Retail Distribution License (identified by license number 44): This liquor license permits the license holder to sell packaged goods – with no consumption on premises.   This license counts towards a separate municipal population restriction, which allows one license for each 7,500 people in the municipality.

Limited Retail Distribution License (identified by license number 43): This liquor license permits the license holder to sell warm beer and other malt alcoholic packaged goods for consumption off premises.  These liquor licenses are no longer issued, but existing licenses can be renewed or transferred if the store also sells groceries.

Plenary Transit License (identified by license number 13): This liquor license permits the license holder to sell alcoholic beverages in open containers for immediate consumption on trains, airplanes, boats and in limousines.  These liquor licenses are not issued by a municipality, but rather by the Director of the State of New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Club License (identified by license number 31):  These liquor licenses are issued to non-profit corporations and authorize the license holder to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises by club members and up to nine guests of any club member.  If the club wants to hold a fundraiser selling alcoholic beverages to non-members, they must obtain a Social Affair Permit.  These liquor licenses do not count towards the municipality’s population restriction.

Contact the attorneys at McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC at 973-890-0004 or e-mail us for assistance with acquiring or transferring a liquor license.