Vince O’Brien assists beverage alcohol clients around the world in dealing with the complex regulatory restrictions governing the production, distribution and sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits.
What do you focus on?
My practice is exclusively dedicated to helping vintners, distillers, brewers and importers of beverage alcohol products deal with the maze of international, federal and state laws, rules and regulations applicable to the most regulated consumer products in the world.
With more than 10 years of experience serving as Executive VP and General Counsel of one of the largest beverage alcohol producers and distributors in the global industry, I have the industry insight necessary to effectively advise my clients regarding import and export agreements; national, regional or state distribution agreements; vineyard management agreements; contracts with industry suppliers (e.g., advertising and promotional agencies, packaging manufacturers, contract bottlers); and supplier sponsorship agreements with professional sports teams and leagues (e.g., Major League Baseball, the NHL, and the NFL) and celebrities.
We are currently assisting one of the top 10 global producers as they convert from using a U.S. importer to creating their own U.S. import and distribution company for sales on a national basis.
I also frequently assist overseas producers in gaining access to the very profitable U.S. market. We recently assisted several major private equity investment firms with acquisitions of national beverage alcohol producers and distributors.
I have been invited by a number of government export agencies and overseas industry trade associations to offer “Doing Business in the U.S.” presentations in many countries including: Israel, France, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and Germany. In recognition for this work I have been presented Awards of Merit by the French and Hungarian Ministers of Agriculture. I also participate actively as counsel, board member, speaker and/or planning committee member for several industry and governmental trade associations.
What do you see on the horizon?
Many state beverage alcohol laws are archaic and tend to be overly restrictive because they were written on the heels of the repeal of Prohibition. We provide research and drafting assistance to those states seeking to update and modernize their laws, and we continue to make significant contributions in this area.
Mr. O’Brien is the author of a chapter on beverage alcohol law practice for West’s Guide to New York Practice.