BRICK TOWNSHIP — The Brick Farmers’ Market opened Saturday for the first time this year, with new vendors thanks to a change in the state’s law regarding alcohol and liquor establishments at farmers’ markets.
Cream Ridge Winery, Garden State Distillery and Icarus Brewing Company set up shop at the Brick Farmers’ Market at Windward Beach Park, months after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill allowing for such establishments to sell their wares at farmers’ markets.
Alcohol and liquor vendors were swamped on Saturday, with some vendors needing to get more product early in the day.
“We sold out within two hours, we didn’t expect that to happen,” Rick Norman, co-owner of Garden State Distillery in Toms River, said. “It’s been way more than we expected.”
In February, Gov. Murphy signed Senate Bill No. 3340, allowing for the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control to grant daily and annual seasonal farm market permits to holders of a limited brewery license, restricted brewery license, craft distillery license, plenary winery license, farm winery license, or cidery and meadery license to sell their products at farmers’ markets throughout the state.
For vendors like Mr. Norman, “for the state to allows this, allows us to grow on our own without requiring distributors.”
Representatives of Icarus Brewing Company, which is headquartered in Toms River, handed out samples of their brews on their table. Shane Gertner, sales manager for the brewery, said that Saturday was a test, gauging how well their beer could sell at this kind of venue.
The results, he added, were surprising.
“We sold out of two beers already and we have more being brought over,” he said at around 10 a.m. on Saturday. “We were excited about the opportunity but kind of curious to see how it will go, but so far so good.”
This year the farmers’ market will take place every Saturday at the park, located on Princeton Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Updates are regularly posted on the borough’s website and on the market’s Facebook page.
Joanne Bergin, the Brick Township Business Administrator, said on Saturday more than 1,000 people visited the market in the first few hours of its opening.
“We are thrilled by the support they have for our vendors and the support they have for the products,” she said. “A lot of folks come for their returning favorites and then we have some new ones in the mix this year that are making things really excited for our shoppers.”
“It was so important for people to have something to do during COVID that was healthy, outdoors with fresh air,” Ms. Bergin said. “Last year, I think it really made a difference for people in the middle of the pandemic, they had this to look forward to and they found it inspiring at a time when there were so few activities to do.”
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