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Food and Beverage

LeClairRyan’s food and beverage industry team covers the full spectrum of practice areas relevant to the industry. We regularly represent clients in regulatory compliance matters related to negotiating and preparing vendor, distributor and other supply chain agreements. Our team also represents clients in various alcoholic beverage control matters. Additionally, we represent clients facing regulatory matters involving federal (FDA, DOJ, FTC, USDA), state and local authorities.

Representative Client Services

We frequently address the following issues for our clients:

  • Alcoholic beverage control
  • Food safety regulations and inspections, including compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and matters related to product recalls, import issues, and agricultural practices
  • Licensing, franchising and regulatory compliance
  • Labor and employment
  • Intellectual property
  • General corporate services, contracts and transactional agreements
  • Litigation and investigations
  • Environmental law
  • Franchise-related matters

Representative Clients

Our diverse group of clients includes:

  • Franchisors and franchisees
  • Breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • Retailers, bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs and resorts
  • Agribusinesses and manufacturers

Representative Matters

Examples of some of the work we have done for our clients: 

  • Developed compliance policies for a large winery
  • Represented alcoholic beverage license applicants at contested administrative hearings
  • Assisted breweries with licensing, labeling, zoning, and employment issues
  • Provided comprehensive brand management services, including trademark and copyright prosecution for restaurants, distilleries, wineries, breweries, coffee companies, energy drink companies, and nutritional supplement manufacturers
  • Provided international trademark clearance, filing, and portfolio management services for food and beverage brands
  • Represented food and beverage clients in infringement cases before the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and in federal courts
  • Advised a Fortune 200 company’s overseas subsidiary on Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) export controls
  • Provided comments on major regulatory proposals affecting agribusiness
  • Provided Spanish-language regulatory compliance training to employees of food and beverage producers
  • Provided counseling during product recalls
  • Counseled manufacturers on FDA compliance, marketing and labeling issues
  • Provided general corporate services, including business formation, mergers, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and entity conversions 
  • Successfully defended licensed providers in dram shop liability litigation
  • Advised on supply chain issues, brand and trade channel integrity, and compliance systems
  • Successfully litigated challenges to oppressive regulatory schemes
  • Drafted franchise agreements, obtained state franchise registrations, and provided compliance counseling
  • Handled franchise and intellectual property cases for an international pizza franchisor and delivery corporation
  • Conducted internal investigations for a Fortune 200 consumer packaged goods company
  • Represented animal agriculture in internal and external investigations related to animal welfare


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