Navigating the federal and state regulations to establish, maintain and grow your brewery, distillery, winery, alcohol beverage distributorship or retail business can be an overwhelming process. Our multidisciplinary Alcohol Beverage team assists clients to streamline the process, identify the proper licensing structure and advise on acceptable trade practices. Specifically, we counsel our clients on matters concerning:

  • federal and state licensing;
  • state franchise protection;
  • trade practice;
  • product labeling;
  • advertising and marketing
  • federal and state excise tax;
  • import and licensing agreements; and
  • state regulatory and disciplinary proceedings.

Our Experience

General Alcohol Beverage.
Our Alcohol Beverage attorneys provide a comprehensive range of legal services designed to assist clients at every stage of your alcohol beverage business from entity formation to securing and maintaining the proper alcohol beverage licenses from federal and state agencies. We counsel clients ranging from local alcohol licensed retail accounts to national manufacturers and suppliers. Matters that we have handled that are unique to the alcohol beverage industry include:

  • Managing alcohol beverage product recalls, including working with the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”).
  • Negotiating transfer of alcohol beverage brands between distributors.
  • Assisting clients in preparing for TTB audits.
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts for alcohol beverage sponsorships for sporting and non-sporting events.
  • Assisting in drafting, developing and implementing internal corporate policies and practices to ensure company-wide compliance with alcohol beverage regulatory requirements.
  • Preparing and filing applications for federal and state licenses, including manufacturing licenses, retail licenses, solicitor permits, distribution and wholesale licenses, marketing permits and temporary permits.
  • Representing licensees in connection with state liquor authority disciplinary actions.
  • Assisting property owners and other real property owners with respect to leases for licensed retail locations.
  • Assisting clients with temporary and event-specific licenses.

Intellectual Property.
The firm has extensive experience in all facets of intellectual property services to the alcohol beverage industry, including:

  • Serving as trademark counsel to national, regional and local alcohol beverage manufacturers. The firm is responsible for domestic and foreign trademark matters, including registration, maintenance, enforcement, advertising, use, and due diligence. We routinely provide preliminary and comprehensive opinions on the availability of trademarks in the alcohol beverage industry
  • Providing intellectual property litigation services in federal and state courts across the nation, including the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Our premier team of intellectual property litigators represents parties whose intellectual property is infringed upon and defends charges of infringement.
  • Negotiating and drafting inter-company and arms-length licensing agreements for alcohol beverage brands.

General Business.
The firm has represented licensed retail clients in connection with ownership disputes, buy-sell agreements, workers compensation issues, tax audits and sales and purchases of licensed retail businesses.


This website presents only general information not intended as legal advice. Although we encourage calls, letters and emails from prospective clients, please keep in mind that merely contacting Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE) does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Confidential information should not be sent to HSE until you have been notified in writing by HSE that a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Information sent to us before then may not be treated as confidential by HSE or the court.

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