Food and Beverage

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP offers a full range of legal services to food processors, beverage companies, manufacturers, suppliers, growers, producers, wholesalers and distributors. From food safety to finance, real estate to risk management, intellectual property to international operations, we have extensive experience addressing the complex challenges facing the food and beverage industry.

Americans consume approximately $1 trillion in food annually. Growing, packaging, distributing and selling what we eat creates millions of jobs and sustains thousands of support industries. Our Food and Beverage practice is dedicated to helping our clients build a better future for the food industry.

Our practice assists with a broad spectrum of issues, including:

  • Commercial finance
  • Food safety and regulation
  • Franchise and distribution
  • Intellectual Property, branding and labeling
  • International operations
  • PACA trust litigation
  • Purchasing and supply chain management

Select examples of our attorneys’ past work include:

  • Representing a restaurant operator/developer in a 24-property sale/leaseback, simultaneously closing $20 million in loans secured by the assets of entities operating 63 fast food restaurants, including Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, T.G.I. Friday’s, Blaze Pizza, Old Chicago and Long John Silver’s.
  • Representing a food manufacturer in connection with its efforts to classify and manage a food safety recall event, including helping the client develop and implement its recall process and liaise with the FDA to ensure step-by-step regulatory compliance.
  • Successfully representing a roaster and coffee house owner in trademark and copyright litigation with an artist, resulting in the client obtaining all intellectual property rights to the relevant artwork.
  • Representing a branded food company in implementing its contract manufacturing supply chain and in handling food recall matters and related claims.
  • Representing the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in In re Giordano’s Enterprises, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.).
  • Representing a national fast-casual restaurant franchise in the sale of a minority interest to a San Francisco-based private equity firm.
  • Representing a large food manufacturer in negotiating an international joint venture with a food ingredient provider.
  • Structuring a joint venture among major distributors of institutional kitchen equipment in creating a national purchasing consortium.
  • Counseling a start-up in the successful effort to create an indoor urban farm and roll out a sustainable program that will eventually have the indoor farming equivalent of 50,000 tillable acres.
  • Representing a major restaurant chain in reducing operating costs in all Chicago stores by obtaining an express exemption from the City of Chicago’s Individual Pricing Rule applicable to all retail food establishments.
  • Defending a vodka manufacturer against a trademark infringement claim, resulting in a settlement permitting it to continue its use of the name.
  • Defeating plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case, where the plaintiffs alleged a national policy of failing to pay for training and orientation.
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