Genova Burns Forms Craft Beer, Spirits & Alcohol Law Practice Group

Genova Burns, a leading full-service legal firm with a specialization in real estate, land use, and redevelopment law, announces the formation of the Craft Beer, Spirits  & Alcohol Law Practice Group. The team, in response to recent regulatory changes and shifting trends in alcoholic beverage industries, will represent clients on all matters relating to the acquisition, management, and establishment of bars, restaurants, and alcohol production facilities.

Led by a team of three senior business and real estate attorneys, the Group’s collective expertise spans the entirety of New Jersey’s increasingly complex liquor licensing, operations, and land use matters. The Group will counsel clients on entity formation; licensure and registration; land acquisition and leasing; land use and zoning approvals; intellectual property and trade secrets; regulatory compliance; and other vendor and distribution commercial contracts.

“As New Jersey’s recent licensing, brewing, and distillation guidelines continue to evolve, we’re seeing more and more demand for legal experts to traverse these notoriously tricky regulations,” said James J. McGovern III, Director of the Craft Beer, Spirits & Alcohol Law Practice Group. “In the coming years, the State is poised to see a surge in opportunities for brewers, distillers, and small-to-mid sized vendors, which we expect to have a key impact on the development of our burgeoning urban centers.”

Among the many current legal hurdles that the Group will address on behalf of its clients is the process for obtaining a retail, brewery or distillery license. As recently as 2013, the State legislature revamped New Jersey’s liquor licensing laws to make it easier for craft alcohol manufacturers to operate in the State of New Jersey. The number of craft breweries in the State has nearly doubled with at least thirteen new breweries in the planning stage.

Recent legislation introduced in the New Jersey General Assembly would dramatically expand the number of liquor licenses available for restaurateurs. The bill proposes to allow municipalities to issue an unlimited number of liquor licenses to restaurants with no bar seating that meet certain size and other specifications.

“If passed, the pending legislation creating new types of liquor licenses for restaurateurs would both greatly reduce the barrier to entry for small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs and impact the current owners of retail consumption licenses,” added McGovern.

The group will leverage a host of existing relationships, including professional experience with the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and partnerships with leading industry groups, such as The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, to navigate the ever-changing alcoholic beverage landscape.

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