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What have you been doing since Pernod? Since I retired in June 2013, I have been enjoying the perks of being retired. I have been traveling to places such as Vietnam and Cuba. Before retirement, I had avoided visiting Cuba due to the Havana Club litigation. I've been spending much time in Manhattan enjoying its cultural opportunities. I continue to serve on several boards of not-for-profits. I've been very involved with Legal Services of Hudson Valley, which provides free, high-quality counsel in civil matters where basic human needs are at stake for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford an attorney. The exemplary service they provide to seven counties in New York encapsulates the values that all lawyers should aspire to. In addition, I have been teaching at Pace University School of Law for the past 10 years. In the spring, I will be teaching a Mergers and Acquisitions course.

Do you have any advice to lawyers entering the field of beverage alcohol law? My advice to lawyers just entering the field of beverage alcohol law is to get yourself out of the office and spend some time in on-premise and off-premise establishments. Keep in mind that the practice in your state is different than in many other states. Make a point of visiting your client’s distillery, winery, or brewery so that you can develop an appreciation of the issues facing producers of alcoholic beverages. The beverage alcohol lawyers must be up to speed on the law and the business that they represent. To do this, don’t rely solely on telephone conversations or email communications. Get out of your office and visit the client’s place of business. Your firm should be prepared to absorb the travel time. Face-to-face meetings with your clients will enhance your practice of beverage alcohol law. Your client will have increased confidence in your understanding of the issues. This creates a win-win for everyone.

Robert C. Lehrman is a lawyer at Lehrman Beverage Law, PLLC in metro Washington, DC. Since 1988 he has specialized in the federal law surrounding beer, wine and spirits, such as TTB permits, labels, trademarks and formulas. The firm has seven beverage lawyers, over 50 years of combined experience, and publishes a blog on beer, wine and spirits trends, at www.bevlaw.com/bevlog.

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Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  
Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.