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Clayton Byrd, Executive Director of Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, to Join Adams and Reese in Nashville

September 25, 2018

Adams and Reese is pleased to announce that Clayton Byrd, Executive Director of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC), will leave the ABC to join Adams and Reese as special counsel, beginning October 15. Byrd will head the firm’s Tennessee alcoholic beverage practice and serve as part of the firm’s Tennessee Government Relations team.

Byrd has nearly a decade of experience with policy surrounding alcohol licensing and regulation. In May 2016, he was named Executive Director of the ABC and was responsible for overseeing the immediate rollout of wine sales in grocery stores in Tennessee, following the passage of state authorizing legislation. He oversaw the ABC’s licensing and permitting process, including the new online platform, working closely with members of the legislature and other government officials in Tennessee. Additionally, Byrd led the ABC’s programs involving law enforcement and alcohol awareness.

“Clay has done a phenomenal job at the ABC. He is a star on the rise, and we’re delighted to have him assist businesses in the alcoholic beverage arena, particularly as the hospitality and entertainment industries have grown in our footprint cities of Nashville and Memphis, as well as across Tennessee. Clay is also an impact hire for our Tennessee Government Relations practice. He will make a strong team even stronger, as we advocate for our clients’ interests before the General Assembly and the Executive Branch,” said Brad A. Lampley, who serves as Nashville Partner in Charge of Adams and Reese, as well as its firmwide Government Relations Team Leader.

In his practice with Adams and Reese, Byrd will represent the interests of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other businesses with regard to state and federal liquor licensing and regulatory matters. He will draw upon his experience with the drafting and enforcement of legislation to help clients with business challenges related to the production, distribution, sale and regulation of alcoholic beverages.

“Clay has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and effectiveness during his time in public office. His knowledge of alcohol regulations and licensing is second to none. He has experience inside the General Assembly as well. He will be a huge asset to our clients, and we are delighted to welcome Clay to the firm,” added Gif Thornton, Managing Partner of Adams and Reese.

Previously Byrd served as Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury and as a Legislative Attorney for the Tennessee General Assembly, where he drafted legislation and helped develop alcohol regulations.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time in public service and look back on everything our team achieved at the ABC with pride. As I start a new chapter with the team at Adams and Reese, I am excited to work closely with the firm’s robust Government Relations team and to bring my in-depth knowledge of the alcoholic beverage industry to benefit the firm’s clients,” Byrd said.

Byrd is a graduate of the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, where he received his J.D., cum laude, in 2011. He received his B.A. in Religious Studies and German, cum laude, from the College of Charleston in 2007.