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When you’re not yet paying yourself for your labors, forking over those dues can feel like a burden. In most cases, this is money well spent and a very good investment. By participating in your guild you may be able to help the organization reduce restrictions on tasting room sales, decrease the impact of state taxes, fund “drink local” campaigns or any number of other things that can meaningfully benefit your business and improve your likelihood of success.


MAKE FRIENDS WITH A LAWYER Believe it or not, lawyers are people too. Sports, music, the arts or enjoying a well-made cocktail are among the hobbies of lawyers just as much as they are for members of any other profession. The point being, engaging with a lawyer even initially for non-legal purposes may not be all that painful, and it could pay huge dividends when times are tough or you have questions about how to move forward and grow your business. To help you focus on what you do best, it is good to have someone in mind who you have developed a relationship with that you can tap when something comes up outside of your sweet spot. If you are uncomfortable with the formal business/ legal hurdles necessary to operate your business, or even if you are comfortable, but you just don’t have the time focus on them, having a resource who is familiar with the legal landscape of the spirits industry could provide some much needed comfort. With the right relationship you can — for the cost of a cup of coffee or a taco-truck lunch — get personalized and pragmatic advice to help you understand what areas of risk are most pressing to your business today. Building a relationship with a lawyer at any stage of your company’s growth can provide comfort that at the end of the day you now have a number to call if you ever have a question or concern about how to move forward.

Brian B. DeFoe is a business lawyer at Lane Powell, where he focuses his practice on helping companies in the customerfacing food, beverage and hospitality industries. Brian can be reached at, via phone at (206) 2237948, on Twitter @BrianBDeFoe or Instagram @HoochLaw. Visit for more thoughts on spirits and the laws that govern them. Brian would like to thank Joe Cerne, an associate at Lane Powell, for his assistance with this article.  This is intended to be a source of general information, not an opinion or legal advice on any specific situation, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with our readers.

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Solutions & Equipment for the Processing Industry



Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2019  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2019  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.