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Practice Summary

OUR FOCUS

Sard & Leff’s practice focuses exclusively on beverage alcohol regulatory and compliance issues. We represent a cross spectrum of the beverage alcohol industry, including beverage alcohol manufacturers, importers, brokers, and wholesalers, as well as on- and off-premises retail alcohol licensees, including hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, stadiums, museums, live entertainment venues, non-profit civic organizations, liquor stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, drug stores, wine specialty shops and convenience stores across the state of Georgia. Our clients range in size from Fortune 100 companies to sole proprietors and from complex business organizational structures to single-member entities. Sard & Leff also represents and counsels commercial real estate developers, owners, property managers, other law firms, and government officials regarding beverage alcohol issues and the real estate, leasing, corporate and business issues which often arise in this context. Our attorneys are detail-oriented and results-driven. We anticipate, recognize and proactively address potential issues before they become operational or regulatory problems. If a component of your business touches alcoholic beverages, Sard & Leff can represent you.

ALCOHOL LICENSING 101 (GEORGIA)

Georgia has gained national recognition as one of the most complex states for alcohol licensing. In the state of Georgia, beverage alcohol is regulated by both the State, (through the Georgia Department of Revenue) and by individual, local governments. With 159 counties and more than 600 separate municipalities — more than 759 local governments potentially with their own alcohol codes — our clients benefit from having the “boots on the ground” representation provided by Sard & Leff. Our attorneys enjoy strong working relationships with and the respect of state and local government regulators and legislators; we work closely with the Georgia Department of Revenue, the State Attorney General’s office, local government authorities, alcohol agents and investigators, county and city attorneys, licensing consultants, and general legal practitioners. It is because of our relationships — combined with our knowledge and years of experience in this very specialized practice area — that Sard & Leff is able to advise and assist our clients as they navigate the complex and often daunting world of beverage alcohol licensing and regulation.

Sard & Leff’s attorneys appear regularly before state and local government hearing bodies throughout the state of Georgia for licensing, disciplinary actions and legislative matters, and we have successfully litigated the rights of beverage alcohol licensees before various Georgia courts. We regularly participate in Georgia’s rule-making process, have appeared before the Georgia General Assembly, House Regulated Industries Committee, and have successfully lobbied to expand the rights of retail alcohol licensees and charitable organizations throughout Georgia. At the local government level, Sard & Leff’s attorneys have penned and successfully lobbied for adoption of local alcohol-related legislation, and have worked to defeat legislation harmful to our clients and to the alcohol industry as a whole.

INDUSTRY RECOGNITION

Sard & Leff’s attorneys work with and advise members of numerous national and local trade associations and industry groups on issues affecting all three tiers of alcohol distribution and licensing in the state of Georgia, including members of the National Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), Wine Institute, National Restaurant Association, Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Georgia Association of Convenience Stores, Georgia Restaurant Association, Atlanta Retailers Association, and the Georgia Association of Business Licensing Officials (GABLO). Sard & Leff’s attorneys are Associate Members of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA); Founding Members of the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants; Sustaining Members of the National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys (NAABLA); and Associate Members of the National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals (NALCP).