Our Difference

Our Food & Beverage industry group has decades of experience in representing national and regional food chains, early-stage restaurant and hotel ventures, resorts, importers, breweries, wineries, food and beverage product manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and franchisors throughout their life cycles. Our clients also include food growers, and processors and industry investors. Through representing such a diverse clientele, we have gained deep and broad industry knowledge and extensive experience in dealing with the increasingly technical and specialized nature of our clients’ businesses. We also understand the ever more complicated array of applicable federal, state, and local regulations, which enables us to deftly guide clients through compliance and assist them in swiftly obtaining necessary licenses and permits.

Our Approach

At Sherman & Howard, we pride ourselves on our responsiveness, cost effectiveness, efficiency, and appropriate staffing based on our clients’ needs and their strategic and financial objectives. We believe in really getting to know our clients’ businesses and in providing full-service representation that meets our clients’ needs at every stage of their development and growth. We also believe in proactive counsel and regularly work with clients to identify and resolve problems, as well as minimize future risks. Our lawyers visit clients to gain firsthand experience in how their businesses run, and we’ve built a multidisciplinary team to ensure the necessary know-how to quickly and effectively address the many and varied issues they face. We also believe in the importance of structuring operational documents and agreements to enable our clients to make ownership changes, add investors, and grow. This flexibility is especially needed for young breweries, startup food establishments, and other new ventures in the industry.

Composed of corporate, real estate, labor and employment, litigation, and intellectual property lawyers, our team is structured so that clients can rely on just one firm to handle their many and varied issues.


Our team advises on and assists clients with:



  • Business formation and organizational matters
  • Finance (including startup funding, banking, private placements, and going public)
  • Alcoholic beverage compliance and regulatory issues at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Liquor licensing, applications, permits, renewals, and transfers
  • Liquor license violations and suspensions
  • Distribution and supply contracts
  • Mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures
  • Franchising
  • Equipment acquisitions and leasing
  • Vendor and supplier contracts review and negotiation



  • Brand licensing
  • Protection efforts for trade secrets, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights
  • Intellectual property litigation and prosecution



  • Employee benefits
  • Executive compensation
  • Stock ownership programs



  • Acquisition, development, construction, and leasing
  • Land use and zoning issues for food, wine, beer, and spirits clients



  • Contract negotiation for restaurant and brewery buildouts
  • Dispute resolution on construction claims
  • Vicarious liability issues
  • Insurance claims and recovery



  • OSHA compliance and investigations
  • Federal and state food safety laws and compliance



  • Employment policies, procedures, manuals, and training
  • Wage and hour issues
  • HIPAA and HITECH issues and compliance, and social media and privacy policies
  • Minimizing workplace conflicts



  • Alternative dispute resolution (including arbitration and mediation)
  • Litigation in federal and state courts
  • Representation before federal, state, and local regulatory bodies
  • Bankruptcy—insolvency, restructuring, and acquisitions