Marc E. Sorini focuses on issues facing the alcohol beverage industry, with a particular focus on the supplier tier, and non-beverage alcohol users. He heads the Firm’s Alcohol Regulatory & Distribution Group and is recognized as one of the leading attorneys in his field.
Marc represents companies that need special expertise because of either the specific laws regarding alcohol or because of particular beverage industry business practices. As a result, his work spans a number of traditional areas of legal practice. These include:
- Corporate, such as drafting and negotiating distribution and co-pack agreements and handling the alcohol regulatory and due diligence aspects of industry transactions;
- Food and beverage, such as counseling on product formulation matters and representing companies in potential product recall situations;
- Government affairs, such as testifying at legislative hearings, preparing legislative and regulatory proposals, and participating in rulemaking proceedings;
- Litigation, such as handling investigations by government alcohol regulatory authorities and representing companies in disputes with distributors;
- Intellectual property, such as reviewing and clearing advertising and labeling under alcohol beverage laws, voluntary industry codes, and false advertising principles; and
- Tax, specifically federal and state excise tax matters.
Marc has represented alcohol beverage suppliers before federal and state courts, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (formerly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or ATF) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state alcohol beverage control agencies. He advises clients on compliance with the regulations and policies of the TTB, FTC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Marc also advises companies in the chemical, flavor and extract, energy, health care supply, soft drink, and other industries on federal and state regulation of non-beverage alcohol. Marc often brings his expertise to bear in legal projects involving many other practitioners, often working with transactional deal teams from McDermott and other firms, litigation teams in commercial disputes or government investigations, subject matter specialists in food, agriculture, international trade and other areas, and a network of local attorneys and professionals skilled at handling the state and local zoning and licensing issues that arise in this industry.
Marc is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) annual conference, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) Legal Symposium, and The Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference. Marc also co-chairs CLE International’s Wine, Beer, and Spirits Law Conference. Marc frequently writes on legal issues affecting the industry, including as a regular contributor to Artisan Spirit Magazine and The New Brewer.
Courts / Agencies
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
Representing the buyers on the alcohol regulatory and distribution aspects of numerous significant industry transactions. — Recent deals include the acquisition of Pabst Brewing Company by entrepreneur Eugene Kashper, the acquisition of Kosta Browne Winery by J.W. Childs Associates, the acquisition of Boulevard Brewing Company by Duvel Moortgat N.V., and the acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider by C&C Beverages. Marc also has represented sellers in transactions.
Counseling clients facing potential product recall and product tampering incidents. — Recent work has included several nationwide recalls involving defective bottles, a nationwide recall involving an undisclosed allergen, and illegal tampering of products already in the market.
Counseling clients on all aspects of their U.S. route-to-market. — Recent work has included preparing and negotiating several national importation agreements, counseling acquirers on post-acquisition re-alignment of their distribution networks, and advising and supporting litigation teams in proceedings brought by distributors against suppliers over termination decisions or decisions not to approve proposed transferees.
Advising clients on how the complex interaction between TTB, FDA and state alcohol regulations, the Lanham Act and state false advertising statutes, voluntary industry codes, and other considerations impact product labeling and advertising. — Recent work has included assisting the litigation teams in several false advertising class actions, counseling clients with new product launches, and advice on product re-formulation to meet labeling and marketing objectives.