The statutes define an alcoholic beverage as "any fluid or solid capable of being converted into a fluid, suitable for human consumption, and having an alcohol content of more than one-half of one per centum (1/2 of 1%) by volume, including alcohol, beer, lager beer, ale, porter, naturally fermented wine, treated wine, blended wine, fortified wine, sparkling wine, distilled liquors, blended distilled liquors and any brewed, fermented or distilled liquors fit for use for beverage purposes or any mixture of the same, and fruit juices." Retail licenses for consumption or distribution are allocated proportionally to a municipality's population.Licenses permitting on-premises retail sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages (i.e.General authority for the statutory and regulatory control of alcoholic beverages rests with the state government, particularly the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control overseen by the state's Attorney General.Under home rule, New Jersey law grants individual municipalities substantial discretion in passing ordinances regulating the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within their limits.
They provide for 29 distinct liquor licenses granted to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and for the public warehousing and transport of alcoholic beverages.
Casinos in Atlantic City and federal enclaves (e.g.
military bases, national parks) are not under the jurisdiction of either the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control or municipal alcoholic beverage control boards.
Conversely, because of the grandfathering of licenses, several municipalities have a substantially higher ratio of licenses.
For instance, the resort town of Wildwood has a permanent population of 5,300, but 61 active liquor licenses.
Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the industry developed with the influx of European immigrants, specifically Germans and Italians, who presented a sizable market for alcoholic beverages and brought with them old world winemaking, brewing, and distilling techniques.