The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (the “Division”) issued an order on April 13, 2020, extending the 2019-2020 license term for all municipally-issued and state-issued licenses until September 30, 2020.
Under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (the “Act”), local governing bodies (known as local issuing authorities) have the authority to issue and renew retail licenses. These retail licenses are in effect for a one-year term, beginning on July 1 of each year. In certain instances, the licenses can also be extended by the Division through ad interim permits. The licenses for the 2019-2020 term were set to expire on June 30, 2020.
The Division, rather than local issuing authorities, issues and renews wholesale and manufacturing licenses and associated permits, known as State-issued licenses, which have the same license term as retail licenses. These State-issued licenses include, but are not limited to, Plenary, Limited, and Restricted Brewery Licenses and Plenary, Limited, and Craft Distillery Licenses. Some associated State-issued permits include, but are not limited to, Special Concessionaire Permits, Sampling Permits, Consumer Tasting Permits, and Off-Premise Storage of Records Permits. These State-issued licenses and permits were similarly set to expire on June 30, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis and its associated consequences, the Division found that many licensees will be unable to renew their licenses by June 30, 2020 or to obtain ad interim permits from the Division to extend them. To avoid licensees from losing their ability to operate after June 30, 2020, and to ensure a properly functioning alcoholic beverage marketplace, the Division extended the 2019-2020 license term until Wednesday, September 30, 2020 for all municipally-issued licenses and State-issued licenses and permits that were set to expire on June 30, 2020.
To renew a retail consumption or distribution license by September 30, 2020 so that it can continue to operate on October 1, 2020, the licensee must (a) file a renewal application with the Division; (b) pay the State filing fee; (c) pay the municipal filing fee to the issuing authority; and (d) obtain an Alcoholic Beverage License Certificate Renewal (e.g., tax clearance certificate) from the Division of Taxation. The municipal issuing authority must then adopt a resolution renewing the license for the 2020-2021 license term. If a license is not renewed by municipal resolution on or before September 30, 2020, the licensee must cease the sale and service of alcoholic beverages, unless the licensee obtains an ad interim permit issued by the Division effective October 1, 2020. However, the licensee will still be considered timely if it files the renewal application between October 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020, pursuant to the Act.
The privileges afforded to State-issued licensees and permit holders will lapse if they do not (a) file a renewal application, (b) pay the requisite fees, and (c) satisfy all applicable renewal requirements on or before September 30, 2020. If they fail to take these steps by that date, they will not be able to operate on October 1, 2020 for the 2020-2021 license term.