New Jersey has an official state bird (Goldfinch,) a state tree (Northern Red Oak,) even an official state dirt and dinosaur (Hadrosaurus foulkii and Downers soil).

New Jersey does not, however, have an official state beverage. That may be changing.

A group of fourth graders from Cinnaminson Township is advocating for cranberry juice to be the official state beverage. Legislation inspired by their efforts advanced unanimously out of an Assembly committee this week.

Sponsored by Asm. Carol Murphy (D-Burlington), the legislation recognizes the importance of the cranberry to New Jersey's history and economy.

Research indicates that cranberry juice is full of nutrients that may have significant health benefits. New Jersey does not have a State beverage and it is fitting and proper to formally recognize the significance of cranberries to the history and culture of our State and its people by designating cranberry juice as the State beverage. - Bill A3156, designating cranberry juice the official NJ State Beverage

The bill (A3156) notes cranberries predates the arrival of the first European settlers in the Western Hemisphere and that cranberries were a staple of the diets of Native-Americans.

In 1835, the first commercial cranberry farm was founded in Burlington County. Since, New Jersey has gone on to become the third largest producer of cranberries in the United States.

In the early 1900's the Ocean Spray company joined with New Jersey resident Elizabeth Lee, and began making and selling cranberry juice.

Many of New Jersey's official state symbols are the result of school children advocating for them as part of a class project. Lawmakers have generally embraced their efforts, seeing it an an opportunity to teach students the legislative process of how an idea becomes a bill and a bill becomes a law.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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