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From farm to table and vineyard to glass, the supply chain of the food and beverage industry requires legal oversight to be a key ingredient at every step of the process. Clark Hill’s Food, Beverage, and Hospitality team brings a comprehensive view of the industry for clients seeking assistance in getting their products to consumers.

We provide a 360-degree view of the business from cultivation and distribution and service. We consider our clients’ business, manufacturing, and processing goals and objectives, whether the client is an owner/operator, developer, manager, manufacturer, processor, distributor, or packager. 

Whatever the business issues, our attorneys are equipped to help with advice and counsel to address our clients’ specific needs, including but not limited to:

Corporate

  • Negotiation and execution of corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures and capital and venture investments
  • Creation of corporate entities and structure for business organizations
  • Import and export arrangements
  • Document and process liquor licenses
  • Franchise and management agreements
  • Intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents
  • Licensing and marketing agreements
  • Processing, supply, and distribution agreements
  • Shareholder voting and control matters
  • Tax-related incentives and planning

Finance

  • Credit agreements and restructurings
  • Real estate, including commercial leases and financing
  • Bankruptcy matters
  • Collections

Labor & Employment

  • Audits
  • Handbooks
  • Management training
  • Affordable Care Act and EEOC compliance

Litigation and Compliance

  • Product recalls
  • Commercial litigation
  • Construction litigation
  • Anti-Trust, including pricing fixing and indirect purchaser claims
  • Americans with Disabilities Act litigation and compliance, including handicap access ordinances
  • Litigation of trademark and trade dress infringement actions
  • Defense of Fair Labor Standards Act actions and advice regarding compliance
  • Defense of administrative proceedings, including citations and alleged license violations
  • Governmental compliance with content labeling
  • Dram shop and premises liability
  • Compliance with local laws and ordinances
  • Creditor and debtor bankruptcy representation

Food & Beverage

Our attorneys represent food and beverage processors, manufacturers, industry groups, franchises, restaurants, bars, retailers, liquor distributors, brewers, caterers, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other clients in the industry. Some notable representations and accolades by our attorneys include:

  • Counsel for the Food Processors Institute (formerly National Food Processors Association (NFPA)), whose members include Campbell Soup Company, Heinz, Ore-Ida, Bumble Bee Tuna, StarKist, Birds Eye, Gerber, Dole, and Del Monte.
  • Representation of large franchisors and franchisees, including Yum! Brands, 7-Eleven, Darden Restaurants, Burger King, and McDonald’s.
  • Defense of one of the nation’s leading food manufacturers in several states against claims for illness and death allegedly resulting from E. coli 0157:H7 bacterial contamination.
  • Representation of an international private equity firm and its portfolio company in the sale of one of the United States’ largest microbrew keg and container leasing companies.
  • Representation of a pre-packaged food processor in its sale to a private equity firm.
  • Representation of an international food processing company in the sale of its U.S.-based potato processing subsidiary.
  • Creation of a proprietary system to streamline franchising and liquor licensing for a national client.
  • Founding member of the Coalition of Food Industry Counsel, a national organization dedicated to educating attorneys.
  • Regular presentations to the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Food Processors Institute, the National Association of Food Processors, and the Food and Drug Law Institute.