Food and Beverage

Companies in the food and beverage industry deal daily with matters of product safety and regulation, financing for expansion, cross-border trade and protection of intellectual property. Legal and business concerns can arise worldwide, as sourcing and consumer markets spread beyond home territories.

Through our work with food and beverage companies, Chadbourne understands the issues and can call on its worldwide network of lawyers to provide advice in almost every jurisdiction. Our experience includes involvement in the sale of 240 fast-food restaurants in the United States, a trade dispute between a Brazilian exporter and a U.S. importer, the expansion of a company’s beverage and bottling facilities in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, the financing of a Russian retailer’s move into hypermarkets, and financing for an Egyptian poultry and olive production company.

We have particular depth in the distilled spirits sector, involving matters such as product safety and marketing. In a case that garnered national attention, Chadbourne successfully defended Jim Beam Brands in the first (and only) case brought to trial involving a claim that a child’s birth defects resulted from his mother’s consumption of distilled spirits. The three-week trial in Seattle, Washington, resulted in a jury verdict for Beam. Thereafter, all of the “fetal alcohol syndrome” cases then pending against brewers and distillers were voluntarily discontinued by the plaintiffs. Chadbourne’s courtroom defense of Beam was featured in the 2005 book Message in a Bottle, published by Harvard University Press, in the chapter “The Thorp Case: Beam on Trial.”

Representative Experience

Defense Verdict in Fetal Alcohol Trial
Jim Beam Brands
Defense of a distilled spirits manufacturer in the first products liability case based on claims of "fetal alcohol syndrome." The case ended in a defense verdict, after which all remaining cases based on allegations of fetal alcohol syndrome were discontinued.
Acquisition of Distilled Spirits and Wine Brands
Fortune Brands, Inc.
$5.2 billion acquisition of distilled spirits and wine brands from Pernod-Ricard that were previously acquired by Pernod-Ricard from Allied Domeq in a related transaction.
Sale of Fast Food Restaurants
Heartland Food Corp.
Sale of more than 240 Burger King® restaurants to a private fund for $155 million.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Parmalat USA Corp.
Representation of the Official Creditors' Committee in the successful stand-alone reorganization of the United States dairy operations of Parmalat.
Financing for Expansion of Retailer
International Finance Corporation
Proposed $110 million financing for the $280 million expansion of a Russian retailer of food and non-food products, as it grows its presence in supermarkets and hypermarkets.
[ more representative experience ]

Related Practice Areas

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Intellectual Property
Mergers and Acquisitions
Products Liability Counseling and Defense
Project Finance

Related Industries

Consumer Products

Related Regions

Middle East and North Africa
Latin America
United States

Worldwide Contact

Donald I Strauber
New York
+1 (212) 408-5205

Local Office Contacts

Related Information