Q&A with Garden State Guild’s New Executive Director, Jason Carty

The state of New Jersey has been labeled with “the most restrictive brewing laws out of all 50 states” according to at least one brewer saying that opening a craft beer brewery in the Garden State is tough to do. Well, Jason Carty hopes to fix some of those potential obstacles.

Carty was named the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild’s newest Executive Director in November and the former fire commissioner and fire chief in New Jersey’s Mount Holly and Westampton Townships has experience with unions of various sizes — dealing with labor issues, grievances, and contract negotiations. He also has experience in fundraising and running charitable events, all which will be something needed in the role.

Brewer Magazine caught up with Carty recently for a chat:

BREWER – What drew you to the position of Executive Director for the Guild? Did you have a lot of contact among New Jersey craft brewers?

CARTY – As an avid craft beer drinker I had visited most of the breweries in NJ and when the position with the guild was advertised I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity and the possibilities.

BREWER – What have you been able to draw from your background and been able to apply to your new job to help grow New Jersey craft beer?

CARTY – I mostly rely on my background in union and political organizing. The Guild is comprised of breweries of different sizes and various business models. Not everyone will have the same issue or needs so understanding the diversity of our membership is important. As a union official I represented a members that worked for various organizations with separate contracts and structures similar to the distinct business models of the respective guild members.

BREWER – In these first few weeks of work, what have you been doing to get acclimated to the position?

CARTY – I have been visiting various member breweries and brew pubs. I have met a lot of great people and sampled a lot awesome beer. Meeting each member and listening to their ideas is paramount in running a successful organization. To effectively lead an organization you must know what is important to your stakeholders.


BREWER – Can you explain some of the positives that have already come from changes made over the last few years for New Jersey craft beer?

CARTY – Growth in our industry is our biggest positive and asset, strength in numbers. The number of breweries in NJ has more than tripled since the law change in 2012. As guild membership grows our voice and the strength of our organization grows with it.

BREWER – Where do you see the challenges for your state in 2017 and how do you hope to take them on?

CARTY – One of our biggest challenges is combating the over-regulation in our state. We are establishing better relationships with state legislators to educate them on the benefits of craft breweries. Economic development, job creation and tourism are all impacted in a positive way when new breweries are established and succeed. New Jersey is becoming a beverage tourism destination and we are confident our legislators will recognize this and support legislation that is beneficial to the craft breweries.

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