Food and Beverage

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Thompson & Knight counsels many companies that produce and distribute food, beverage, and consumer products. We help them deal with concerns that have a unique impact on consumer-oriented industries, from the complex web of state and federal distribution statutes to product liability litigation and related insurance coverage. Our attorneys also offer guidance, reflecting our many years of general counsel experience, on regulatory compliance (antitrust and pricing, environmental, and multistate taxation), financial matters (business combinations, corporate finance, and securities offerings), intellectual property management (protection of patents, trademarks, and trade dress, as well as licensing and franchising agreements), and general operations (from real estate transactions to labor and employment law). We understand the issues that are unique to each industry, and give our clients sound business and legal advice.

Beverage Products and Distribution

Thompson & Knight's beverage industry representation is in many respects similar to our work in the food industry. We counsel regional and international tea, coffee, beer, soft drink, milk, and bottled water companies, as well as their distributors and retailers (including the largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products in North America and the largest chain of retail liquor stores in Dallas), in general corporate and transactional work, distribution, financing, operations, import/export issues, employee benefits matters, and tax planning. Our attorneys are especially skilled at assisting beverage and food industry clients with Texas liquor licensing and permitting laws. Through more than 20 years of practice, Thompson & Knight attorneys have mastered the complex, and sometimes contradictory, regulations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, helping many large organizations and out-of-state businesses overcome the barriers to obtaining the liquor licenses that they require in order to do business in the state.

Food Products and Distribution

We represent producers and distributors of meats, poultry, eggs, cheese, frozen pizza, baked goods, tortillas, cookies, snack foods, spices and seasonings, canned vegetables, ethnic foods, seafood products, nuts, chocolate and candies, and fresh produce in import/export matters, mergers and acquisitions, tax planning, financing transactions, employment, immigration, insurance, product recalls, and product liability litigation.

Our attorneys help food industry companies with a variety of financial transactions, including a $12 million sale of stock by a food manufacturer, an $8 million credit facility to refinance a California fruit and nut business, and the $13 million purchase of a competitor's assets by a food processor. We also handle financing and real estate transactions for a wholesale grocery company, employee benefit matters for a grocery and bakery, and general business matters for a large holding company that grows fresh produce in Mexico and distributes it in the United States.

Many of our food industry clients are restaurants - both independent operations and large regional and national chains - located in nearly a dozen states nationwide. We advise them on financing, leasing, acquisitions, site development, dispositions, taxes, bankruptcy, premises liability, and licensing matters. We work regularly with restaurant franchisors and franchisees, offering guidance on their complex business relationships. A key member of our practice represents a hotel chain's restaurant on management and liquor licensing issues and counsels more than 40 restaurants in leasing, development, acquisitions, and liquor licensing matters.