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The Adams and Reese Alcohol and Hospitality team serves as trusted advisors for members of the alcohol and hospitality industries, from manufacturing of products to service at the local watering hole. We represent clients across the spectrum of the supply chain, from breweries, distilleries, and wineries, to distributors, retailers, and bars and restaurants. Our team assists with everything from regulatory compliance and licensing to labeling and tax considerations.

The team has earned a reputation as the go-to attorneys for alcoholic beverage law in Tennessee, as well as states throughout the Southeast. Our team has been recognized in Chambers USA as well as Best Lawyers, and we are known throughout the country as thought leaders in this space. Partner Will Cheek is the author of Last Call, a go-to blog covering issues of importance for Tennessee alcohol and hospitality law.

We assist clients through the production, distribution, sale, and regulation of alcohol, as well as non-alcohol beverage issues. Our team works with the broader Intersection of Business and Government team to provide legislative and policy support on issues of importance to industry members and associations.

Consider these examples of our recent experience:

  • We crafted a new licensing structure to meet the unique business needs of a 100,000 square foot food hall in Nashville, lobbied for special legislation and licensed over a dozen separate points of sale. Guests can move freely with alcohol purchases throughout the facility, which boasts multiple eateries that have central ordering, delivery and storage, among other amenities.
  • We negotiated with licensing authorities and enacted legislation to enable an international airport authority to license all public post-TSA space for open carry of alcohol, the sale of sealed bottles for consumption at the passenger final destination, and extending the hours of sale to include all hours that the facility is open to the public.
  • We assisted a national grocery delivery service in drafting legislation to allow the delivery of alcoholic beverages through their online service. The measures were originally opposed by state ABC boards but as a result of our efforts, they were ultimately successful in Alabama.

Summary

The Alcohol and Hospitality team assists in filling up your personal liquor and wine stock as well as helping fire up a still, allow a new restaurant to serve alcohol, and ensure special events go off without a hitch. Our team also assists with representation at state legislatures, including drafting legislation on areas impacting the alcohol and hospitality industries.

Defining Strengths

The Alcohol and Hospitality team at Adams and Reese provides regulatory, transactional, and litigation experience for all members of the hospitality and beverage industries, including:

Regulatory and Licensing: We routinely represent clients before local beer boards and state Alcoholic Beverage Commissions in actions related to licensing, enforcement actions, administrative hearings, and violation notices. We assist individual manufacturers, trade associations, restaurants and bars, and other entities in obtaining the requisite licenses for their business functions, and help ensure regulatory compliance.

Operations and Transactions: The alcohol and hospitality industries have unique complexities, which our attorneys are adept at navigating. We assist clients with setting up business operations, advising on corporate structure, tax issues, and investment options. Our team also assists in business transactions, including site acquisition/disposition, business sales, and intellectual property issues.

Distilleries/Wineries/Breweries: As craft breweries, local wineries, and new distilleries continue to emerge across the Southeast, the Adams and Reese team is there to assist with the unique licensing and regulatory needs of these specialized manufacturers. We assist not only with obtaining necessary licenses and permits, but also with advertising, marketing, and commerce issues. Our team has experience in labeling laws, tax issues, and special events requirements.

Industry Engagement: We are deeply involved in industry organizations, including the Tennessee Distiller’s Guild, which our team members founded; the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants; and the Florida Brewers Guild. By maintaining close ties with the organizations advocating for our clients, we are able to quickly identify new or emerging issues of importance in the industry.

Representative Experience

  • Settled for a nominal fee a dispute between a prominent winery and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), thereby avoiding the revocation of the winery’s federal licensing.
  • Licensed the first distillery-brewery combination in Tennessee.
  • Advise a start-up restaurant on the Florida quota liquor license process, including exploration of joint partnership structure option.
  • Assisted a client in entering into a business agreement to create a new liquor brand, including setting up corporate structure and drafting deal documents.
  • Represented a national discount retail chain before the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Commission in a violation regarding selling alcohol to a minor.
  • Assisted clients with importing alcoholic products as well as retailers with general licensing issues. These representations required significant interactions with the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
  • Obtained initial wine and grocery store licenses for hundreds of stores in Tennessee, as well as subsequent renewals, as a result of changed legislation.
  • Represent the national trade association for producers and marketers of distilled spirits through government advocacy in Alabama.
  • Attained approvals for labels of numerous European wine and spirit brands for distribution throughout the United States.
  • Currently advising a whiskey distillery with regard to distillery business operations, plans and procedures, including labor and employment advice. Our representation has also included advice on relocation of the corporate headquarters and possible future expansion of operations.