Alcohol Licensing & Regulatory Compliance
Solving Problems & Advancing Business Objectives
Spiritus Law provides comprehensive alcohol licensing and regulatory compliance representation focused on strategic business solutions and expansion. We strive to be at the forefront of emerging industry trends and the refashioning of traditional concepts. Our professionals have collectively helped shape alcoholic beverage regulations for over 100 years at the federal, state, and local level. We represent all tiers of the alcohol industry including manufacturers, wholesalers, and both on- and off-premise retailers. Our clients are diverse and operate across a wide array of industries and services focused on the production, importation, distribution, and retail sale of alcohol including both on- and off-premise establishments.
Innovative. Influential. Spirited.
- Advise clients on alcohol licensing structure options and varying business operational models for the manufacturing, importation, and sale and service of alcoholic beverages for on- or off-premise consumption.
- Drafting and negotiation of management, distribution/importing, and operating agreements.
- Analysis of complex ownership structures and investment funds for review of limited disclosure options and compliance with federal, state, and local ownership disclosure regulations.
- Complete alcohol business licensing and permitting, including federal, state, and local approvals.
- Certificate of Label Approvals (COLA) for foreign and domestic alcohol producers and importers.
- Management and tracking of cross-border and multi-jurisdictional licensing projects including license transfers resulting from mergers and acquisitions and restructuring.
- Alcohol related land use and zoning approval processes for new project development or alcohol service integration.
- Lease review and negotiations including landlord disclosures and percentage rent payment terms and resolution of landlord/tenant performance disputes.
- Review and analysis of inter-industry business relations including manufacturer and supplier alcohol marketing programs, alcohol brand sponsorships, product promotions, and social media advertising campaigns.
- Defense against federal, state, and local regulatory enforcement investigations, citations and administrative and/or criminal allegations relating to alcohol law violations.
- Emergency preparedness planning and on-site training including development of emergency management protocols and procedures, enforcement or cancellation of contracts and leases, pandemic & social distancing protocols.
- Analysis of alcohol purchasing and distribution options for foreign and domestic passenger common carriers.
- Alcohol retailers expanding into direct-shipping and alcohol delivery market face regulatory compliance challenges.
- On-line alcohol sales skyrocket but direct-to consumer shipping and delivery laws present regulatory hurdles.
- Mobile apps dominate convenience shopping and retailers are looking for operational compliance guidance for implementation and use.
- Alcohol infused food products are becoming more popular, but regulatory requirements are unclear and permitting requirements vary across jurisdictions.
- To-go-cocktails have helped the hospitality industry survive pandemic closures, but regulatory requirements may impact how products must be packaged and delivered.
Far Reaching Capabilities. Straight Up.
- Assisted various producers and retailers in adjusting business operations during COVID-19 closure orders and facilitated expedited permitting for re-purposing of manufacturing facilities to produce hand sanitizer and other essential products.
- Successfully represented various alcohol producers and retailers in defense against Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) subpoenas for exhaustive financial records and marketing practices.
- Developed social distancing plans for restaurants, bars, and other on-premise retail facilities in compliance with state and local emergency orders.
- Assisted with management agreement review and negotiations, and alcohol license and business permit transfers during and following a major real estate investment group’s first entry into the U.S. hospitality market with the $125 million purchase of a South Beach hotel. The Spiritus Team worked to complete all business and alcohol license transfers simultaneously with transaction closing to avoid interruption in alcohol and amenity services.
- Assisted with licensing and regulatory due diligence in preparation for a major cruise lines’ sale of assets for $3.025 billion dollars. The Spiritus Team reviewed regulatory compliance issues and completed license filings throughout the U.S. prior to closing deadlines. Post-closing, the Group assisted with preparation of due diligence and licensing summaries for in-house regulatory counsel.
- Assisted with analysis and review of promotional and social media marketing programs, completed business licensing and permitting for various sports team franchises, and arena food and beverage concessions, including drafting and negotiation of concession agreements and provided corporate and regulatory compliance guidance.
- Provided regulatory guidance and due diligence of operating licenses and permits for various movie theater chain acquisition of assets including transactions over $3.5 billion. The Spiritus team has transferred all alcohol licenses and operating permits simultaneously with closing to prevent interruption in alcohol service and provided post-closing compliance guidance for multiple jurisdictions.
- Represented the national movie theater chain, Muvico Entertainment, as alcohol regulatory and licensing counsel in the sale of its theater chain and remained as licensing regulatory counsel for Buyer post-closing. Post-closing, the Spiritus Team assisted Muvico Entertainment in disposition and sale of alcohol inventory and continued representation of Buyer for completion of business licensing and regulatory compliance issues.
- Review and analysis of alcohol internet sales and direct to customer alcohol shipping issues for national retailers.
- Defense of administrative enforcement allegations and TTB subpoenas during joint State and Federal task force investigation relating to alcohol trade practice investigations involving use of supplier support and marketing funds; provided post-settlement regulatory compliance guidance.
- Represented foreign investment group in acquisition of U.S. alcohol import company worth over $150 million in alcohol licensing and permitting processes in all 50 states.
- Represented largest producer of Scotch Whiskey based in Scotland in new product launch across all 50 states. Representation included all licensing ad permitting processes on the federal, state, and local levels.
- Represented various producers of alcohol infused food items in regulatory label approvals and compliance with permitting requirements.
- Assisted international retailer with review and regulatory permitting for unique and themed private label. Representation included review and drafting of licensing agreements, label approvals and brand registrations.
- Served as special alcohol regulatory counsel in Cineworld Theaters acquisition of Regal Entertainment Group, valued at over $3 Billion USD, and completed multi-jurisdictional license tracking, license transfers and corporate updates resulting from change in ownership.
- Provided on-site alcohol marketing training for various sports teams and hospitality venues with a focus on permissible use of social and digital media for alcohol related promotions.
- Assisted various nightclubs and bars with review of drug prevention policies and provided on-site training.
- Comprehensive licensing and permitting of concessionaire kiosks and food stands at train stations, sports stadiums, conference centers and other entertainment venues with third-party food catering services.
Spiritus Law has created pricing and budgeting guidelines designed to provide transparency in our fee structures and efficient cost accounting and planning.
We understand the importance of cost management, and we continually identify alternative billing structures that can accommodate both large projects involving various service and permitting needs and as well as small focused projects.
Our vast knowledge in the industry has always allowed us to create a competitive rate structure and alternative fee arrangements. This allows us and our clients to examine and consider the most effective billing method for their project. Our fee arrangements may include any of the following:
- Traditional Hourly Billing with monthly invoicing;
- Flat Fee per project billing for routine licensing matters;
- Monthly retainer billing for ongoing consulting services;
- Fee caps for special limited projects; and
- Quarterly billing arrangements based on project scope.
Interactive and collaborative client communication is a primary focus of our project management and enables us to promptly identify issues that may increase projected budgets or require the need of additional legal services. We routinely produce work plans so our clients can see what we will be doing in addition to what we are doing.
While each matter and each client’s goals are unique, we strive to identify and streamline standard processes and document requests to ease the burden various regulatory filing processes can impose on your in-house team and reduce the risk of unexpected legal fees.