Duly Noted . . .

Warner Norcross launches new craft brewery industry group

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has launched a new Craft Brewery Industry Group, making it one of the first law firms in Michigan to provide an integrated team approach for the multibillion-dollar craft brewing industry.

More than 20 experienced attorneys and paralegals comprise the new Craft Brewery team, which offers services focused on more than a dozen legal areas, including:

—Advertising and marketing

—Business succession planning

—Capital formation

—Labor and employee benefits

—Employee stock ownership plans

—TTB, FDA and other regulatory agencies

—Financing and economic incentives

—Intellectual property and trademarks

—Mergers and acquisitions

—Michigan Liquor Control Commission

—Public stock offerings


The industry group is chaired by Ian R. Kennedy, a partner who practices in the firm’s Kalamazoo office. In addition to his work with craft brewers, his practice includes concentrations in general corporate, employment and real estate law for closely held businesses.

“We at Warner Norcross love ales, stouts, lagers and porters — and we also love doing good work for our clients,” Kennedy said.  “Michigan ranks sixth in the nation for the number of craft breweries. We created the Craft Brewery group so that local brewers and the businesses that support them can access a single source of experienced professionals who can provide counsel across the needs of their business.

“We assist brewers in navigating state and federal regulations, as well as identifying and obtaining tax abatements and incentives for development and manufacturing. We also help owners who are growing and expanding their businesses and product lines to plan for continued success.”

Last year, 159 craft breweries called Michigan home, producing enough beer to provide nearly 3.6 gallons for every resident of legal drinking age.  Nationwide, craft brews are enjoying wide popularity, with sales growing 22 percent last year.

The Craft Brewery group, which encompasses hops processors, breweries, bars and restaurants, is a subset of Warner’s Agribusiness & Food Industry Group. The Craft Brewery team has broad experience working with more than 15 craft brewers.

Michigan brewers who have already “tapped” into the firm’s expertise include Arcadia Brewing, BarFly Ventures, Founders Brewing Co., Perrin Brewing and many more. Although this group is focused on craft breweries, the law firm also counsels distilleries, wineries and other businesses with similar needs.