Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries


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New England has long been home to independent thinkers, people who are not afraid to be a little bit different. This spirit of independence has made New England an epicenter of the craft beverage movement. New Englanders are creating unique beers, sodas, wines and distilled spirits, and turning those products into thriving businesses. The process of going from product to profitable business is fraught with obstacles. Whether just starting out, going global, or anything in between, craft beverage businesses face unique legal challenges. In today's competitive beverage industry, it will be those who can best navigate these challenges that will succeed.

The attorneys of Verrill Dana’s Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries Group are here to help your business navigate this complex world. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to tackle the legal issues and allow you and your company to focus on doing what it does best, making great products. At every step of the journey we will be there to help.

Business & Corporate: Attorneys in our Business & Corporate Group serve as the trusted counsel to local breweries and distilleries, advising them on a variety of corporate and commercial matters. From assisting a new brewery with selecting the organizational structure that fits its ownership and business model best to negotiating and documenting and financing the acquisition of new equipment, our experienced business law attorneys understand the alcoholic beverage industry, whether you are looking to attract investment or would like to negotiate a commercial loan or equipment lease, we are here to help you secure the capital you need so you can focus on growing your beverage business.

Licensing & Regulatory Consulting: Liquor licensing and regulation often involves federal, state, and local governmental entities. Through years of representing companies in the alcoholic beverage industry, small operations and multi-state sellers, we have the experience to assist you in navigating this regulatory maze. Our attorneys can determine the applicable regulations, obtain appropriate licenses; and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local liquor laws. We provide this advice to all tiers of the liquor industry, from manufacturing through distribution to retail for final consumption by the consumer.

Intellectual Property: Creating, developing, and protecting your company’s brand is essential to success, particularly as the craft beverage market continues to grow. The intellectual property attorneys in our practice group routinely counsel clients on clearing trademarks for use, navigating the registration process, negotiating licensing and coexistence agreements, and evaluating enforcement issues. This can include conducting research to determine whether a new brewery, winery or distillery name is available, developing a strategy to protect designs or logos appearing on product labels, and filing trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for anything from a new company or product name, a brewery logo, or a tap handle design. We can provide practical and cost effective advice to help your company position itself for success, whether you are doing business in New England, nationally, or on a global level.

Labor & Employment: Our Labor & Employment attorneys have worked with breweries, distilleries and other beverage producers and understand the challenges they face. Whether you are just starting out, or have around-the-clock production capabilities, knowing how to properly manage your workforce while complying with state, federal, and local labor and employment laws is not easy. Our group can help by providing you with the tools and resources to create effective policies and/or employment agreements to protect your business. Business owners in this industry have unique questions: Can I require employees to work on holidays? What requirements do I have to accommodate disabled individuals on the production floor and how do I handle allegations of discrimination? What responsibilities do I have to an employee whose essential functions include the consumption of alcohol? We can answer these difficult questions and help you avoid costly employment issues.

Litigation: Success in the alcoholic beverage industry brings with it challenges: bottles break, negotiations with suppliers and distributors become heated, disputes with competitors develop, and the regulators exercise oversight over your business. Verrill Dana's experienced litigators will work with you to plan ahead to minimize the risk of litigation. In the event you find yourself in litigation, our team of experienced litigators can help you focus on getting back to what you do best, making a great product.

Administrative, Legislative & Lobbying: Maine Street Solutions, Verrill Dana's public affairs affiliate, has extensive experience representing clients before the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations, relevant legislative committees including Veterans And Legal Affairs, Taxation, Public Safety, And Appropriations, and working with the Maine Department of Public Safety. They have worked on issues ranging from individual licensure to modify Maine law to accommodate micro-distilleries, growing microbreweries, and encouraging the growth of Maine's spirits and brewery business sector.

Tax: Tax issues affect most industries. Breweries, distilleries, and wineries are no exceptions. It is important to understand the complicated tax intricacies that are involved in every stage of owning and operating a brewery, distillery or winery. Proper tax consulting, planning, strategizing and advising in this industry can help your business stay tax compliant and minimize your business’ tax burdens. Our tax attorneys have the requisite knowledge and skills that are necessary to guide your business on various tax matters that are unique to this industry. Whether it is discussing the definition of a “controlled group” for purposes of determining the federal excise tax rate, keeping you informed about recent tax changes, or representing your business in an audit, our attorneys are here to answer your questions and assist you with your tax needs.

As a full service law firm, Verrill Dana is capable of assisting breweries, distilleries and wineries with legal issues unique to their industry and also with a full range of legal services. These include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental
  • Promotion Law
  • Real Estate
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Securities

Contact a member of our Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries Group to learn more about how we can assist in your success.


  • Partner
    T: (207) 253-4522
  • Counsel
    T: (207) 253-4478