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Lewis Roca successfully guides liquor law clients – including public and private companies, Indian tribes, and governmental agencies – through the maze of complex state, local, and federal laws in this highly regulated arena. Our lawyers provide comprehensive legal and strategic advice to support a diverse portfolio of businesses, including all three tiers of the alcohol industry as well as other key industry players, such as service providers and marketing agencies.

Areas of focus include:


Our national practice assists with a wide range of liquor licensing needs. We have years of experience helping clients across the country open a variety of new businesses, including craft breweries, restaurants, gaming establishments, and retail liquor establishments. Our team has guided countless clients through the application process, from preparing and filing applications to supporting clients at hearings before a local or state licensing authority. We also assist with identifying suitable locations and obtaining special use permits for certain properties. For national companies, we often serve as local counsel to help in-house counsel navigate various local requirements and serve as key contacts for local agencies during the licensing process.


Lewis Roca advises producers – from craft distillers to larger suppliers – on all matters relating to licensing and compliance, trade practices, and distribution. We are routinely called upon to perform comprehensive review and risk analyses of federal and state liquor laws and to advise clients on how to avoid compliance actions by government authorities. We also frequently draft and review licensing, bottling, and distribution agreements.


We represent large networks of distributors, including both local and national players. Our services range from reviewing and guiding distributors through primary source and franchise law disputes to an array of regulatory, licensing, legislative, and trade practices compliance matters. We also draft and review distribution agreements for local, national, and international distribution.


We represent the full breadth of industry participants in liquor license-related matters, including:

  • Airlines and limousines
  • Hotels
  • Independent restaurant, bar, and tavern owners
  • Owners of grocery, convenience, and liquor stores
  • Restaurant and hotel chains

Our lawyers help clients obtain liquor licenses, including those involving common consumption areas, and assist with transferring licenses involved in bankruptcies or foreclosures. We regularly represent major hospitality industry operators in connection with management agreement matters as well as clients before the local community and state liquor control boards.

Government Relations

Our team of lobbyists and lawyers provides legislative advocacy at state and federal levels. We assist clients in identifying and resolving legal and regulatory issues through changes in the law.

Intellectual Property

We advise liquor clients, including craft brewers and distillers, on a variety of intellectual property matters, such as trademark and patents.

Certificates of Label Approvals (COLAs)

We ensure that alcoholic beverage product labeling complies with the detailed federal regulatory requirements for label content of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Food and Drug Administration.

Regulatory Compliance

Our firm has extensive experience with liquor code violations. We counsel clients on issues relating to sales and marketing of alcoholic beverages to ensure compliance with federal and state laws. We also assist with required notifications to local agencies regarding corporate restructuring as well as with the licensing of additional key individuals appointed to management.

Violation Hearings

For clients who were charged with a liquor code violation, or had their liquor license suspended or revoked, our lawyers stand ready to rectify the issue.

We handle all types of liquor license violation cases, including:

  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors in an establishment
  • Open containers or consumption of alcohol on prohibited premises
  • Sale of alcohol after permitted hours
  • Sale of alcohol by minors
  • Sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons
  • Sale of alcohol to minors
  • Unauthorized transfer of a liquor license

We also advise on matters relating to improper conduct by clients or their employees.

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