Monday, October 24, 2011

NJ lieutenant gov pays a call on Flying Fish

Another sign that Trenton is coming around to craft beer's industry potential.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno toured Flying Fish's digs on Monday.

FF's tweet off the day says Guadagno, the No. 2 in the Chris Christie administration, talked about craft brewing growth in the Garden State, and founder Gene Muller, via email, called the meeting productive.

Christie's not exactly popular in union and public employee circles, thanks to some budget austerity since taking office last year.

But his administration has been craft-beer friendly. If you recall back in May, Christie signed a proclamation for American Craft Beer Week in New Jersey, coinciding with the national observance.

And now, the lieutenant governor drops in on Flying Fish. The visit puts FF and its growth (plus the planned move a few miles away to Somerdale) in the spotlight, but the state's craft brewing industry should be able to enjoy a bounce off this moment, too.

Craft brewing is a $7 billion-a-year industry nationally, and having the governor's office warm up to Garden State beer-makers could help improve the odds for overhauling the state's brewing industry regulations and put New Jersey on par with New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware, where the rules are more brewer-friendly.

That, obviously, would make New Jersey brewers more competitive.

And who knows, maybe Trenton will fall in love with craft brewing and show it like New York State did to Brooklyn Brewery in 2009.