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N.J. Closes Book on Prohibition, Gives Distiller License

Locally made rum, bourbon and whiskey may soon flow in New Jersey after the state granted a new distiller’s license for the first time since the end of Prohibition.

Jersey Artisan Distilling Inc., based in Fairfield, plans to immediately begin making rum that should be available by April, using “classic techniques that represent the traditional style of dark rum, from the Colonial period when New Jersey was a hub for rum production and importation,” according to a statement from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control division.

Once the weather warms, the distillery plans to produce rum flavored with seasonal New Jersey fruits, such as strawberries, cherries and blueberries. Bourbon and whiskey, made from Garden State sweet corn, are expected by 2015.

Conceived in 2010, Jersey Artisan will be the state’s sole licensed local producer of spirits, joining 45 wineries, 11 craft breweries and 14 brew pubs, which make their own beers for sale in adjoining restaurants.

Prohibition, mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in 1920, forbade the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. It was the only amendment to be repealed, in 1933.

The new distiller will be looking for volunteers to help it bottle its rum starting in April, according to its website.

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