Marc E. Sorini - McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Marc E. Sorini

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2011
Phone: 202-756-8284

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.

Additional Information

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
Lehigh UniversityBA 1988Georgetown University Law CenterJ.D. 1994

Case History

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.

Client Comments

"Marc Sorini is an outstanding lawyer and one of the best in the country when it comes to alcohol marketing clearance and regulatory work."

"Marc Sorini offers prompt assessments and reactions. He has a comprehensive understanding of the nuances and politics involved in legal, regulatory, and other related issues. He is well connected and knows where to go to. He has a practical approach and attitude. He is positive and seriously cautious when necessary. He is solution oriented; short and long term perspectives are taken into consideration. He is the kind of person that you also might want to go out and have a beer with."

-Charlie Papazian
The Brewers Association

"I have known Mr. Sorini for quite a long time now. Mr. Sorini has represented my company broadly and extensively (my company is the owner of ABSOLUT VODKA among other brands) in regulatory and distribution work matters. He is also responsible as lawyer and project leader at MWE in all relations with my company. Mr. Sorini is very commercial, knowledgeable, and practical in all his advice to us. No doubt, he is to be recognized as a very stringent, efficient, and wise lawyer. Based upon my own experience of comparing consultants and lawyers from all over the world, there is no doubt that Mr. Sorini is a top counsel."

"Marc Sorini is hands down one of the best business attorneys in the liquor industry. Not only is he a specialist in his area of law, but he has the ability to assess the right business strategy when applying the law. Whether advising on alcohol beverage laws, production or distribution laws or coordinating asset deals, he is always focused, efficient, and responsive, a true counsel in every sense of the word."

-Lisa Derman
Proximo Spirits, Inc.

"Marc Sorini is a great lawyer."

"Marc Sorini's D.C. based beverage alcohol practice group is the gold standard for the U.S. beverage alcohol industry. The expertise and responsiveness of Marc and his team are absolutely exemplary. Marc tries to truly understand both the legal and business implications of a particular legal or regulatory problem or challenge. However, such dedication and expertise from a large law firm like McDermott Will & Emery comes at a cost. "

Office Location

The McDermott Building
500 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2015 Lawyer of the Year in Food and Beverage Law of the Washington DC Metro Area
Marc E. Sorini has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!

Practice Areas

Food and Beverage Law

Other Information

Gender: Male