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Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing explosive growth in the wine, beer, spirits, and cider industries. Helsell Fetterman attorneys represent alcoholic beverage producers, distributors, retailers, and the associated businesses that support the industry in Washington, Oregon, California, and throughout the United States.  We understand the unique needs of the alcoholic beverage industries.  We can help you establish your company and brands, and protect your business.

There are several aspects of the alcoholic beverage industries that are unique.

  1. Your biggest asset is your brand. What you put in your bottle matters.  What you put on your label is just as important.  We can help you establish and protect your brand’s valuable trademark and intellectual property rights.
  1. You are in a highly regulated industry. The specter of America’s experiment with prohibition still haunts the industry today.  You must navigate complex federal and state regulations and guidance, as well as solve practical problems that are not addressed in agency rules.  Often, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in ensuring compliance and avoiding legal issues and business headaches.
  1. You have unique business and legal challenges. You need someone who speaks your language. From leasing and financing issues, to grape purchase agreements and alternating proprietorship agreements, to newly emerging rules governing cideries, companies involved with alcoholic beverages have specialized legal needs.  We can meet your corporate, transactional, dispute resolution, and litigation needs with in-depth industry experience.
  1. You often have closely-held businesses. There are special challenges associated with small, family run, or closely-held businesses.  From corporate and tax issues, to putting a will and plan in place to ensure business continuity in the event someone passes away, to employment issues associated with small businesses, we can help you find legal solutions scaled to the size of your business.

Intellectual Property

  • Trademark registration and brand protection
  • Responding to cease and desist letters
  • Addressing trademark infringement and confusion
  • Securing patents for technology and design
  • Protecting trade secrets and proprietary information
  • Litigation and dispute resolution

Real Estate and Land Use Services

  • Leasing and sale
  • American Viticultural Area (AVA) designations and issues
  • Environmental and health regulations-wastewater, pesticides, environmental review, and worker safety
  • Grape purchase agreements; lien issues
  • Crop insurance issues
  • Litigation and dispute resolution

Business Law and Regulatory

  • Financing for start-ups, expansions, and mergers
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and state liquor control board laws
  • Trade restrictions (tied-house laws)
  • Grape purchase agreements, alternating proprietorship agreements, and custom crush agreements
  • Contract distilling agreements
  • Litigation and dispute resolution 


  • Employment Agreements
  • Employee issues

Business Succession

  • Estate Planning & Wealth Transfer
  • Business Succession and Continuity
  • Tax issues

Connect with Helsell

1001 Fourth Avenue, Suite 4200
Seattle, WA 98154

(206) 292-1144

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