… but we are more than just beer!

What We Do

We are attorneys. And our business is helping people start, develop, and succeed in the craft beverage industry. That may sound generic, but our focus covers the entire spectrum of the legal experience of alcohol producers and sellers. We represent small, startup producers. We represent growing and second-tier manufacturers. We represent retailers and even companies looking to buy or sell alcohol businesses. That means that we handle a vast array of matters for our clients. We handle everything from company formation through to exiting the industry, including fundraising, federal and state licensing, alcohol law compliance and advertising, trademark and brand management, contracts and leases, working with the employer/ employee relationship, and mergers and acquisitions.

We handle trademark, TTB, and federal law matters for businesses all over the US and the world. But, because every state's alcohol laws are different, our state law practice is restricted to North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In those states, we can help with anything that comes across your desk. Outside of those states, we are more limited in the help we can provide. But, even if you are outside of the states we practice in, please give us a call - we have contacts and an entire network of alcohol attorneys through the United States that may be able to assist you. We are happy to help, even if it is just connecting you with another attorney better able to assist.

We do not charge for an initial consultation. So, please, call us and let us know how we can help you and your business succeed.

Services We Provide

Contracts & Agreements

Contracts & Agreements

TTB and ABC licensing are critical aspects to working in the craft beverage industry. We have helped hundreds of clients through this set of hurdles.

Federal & State Licensing

Federal & State Licensing

We assist clients with all manner of agreements, leases, and contracts that they need to support their business.

Business Formation & Start Up

Business Formation & Start Up

Selecting the right form and structure of the business and fundraising are serious considerations that need to be thought through well in advance.

Alcohol Compliance

Alcohol Compliance

Staying on the correct side of alcohol regulations can be counterintuitive and very confusing. With years of experience, let us help you find your way through the minefield.

Buying & Selling an Alcohol Business

Buying & Selling an Alcohol Business

We have worked with many businesses, representing buyers and sellers, to help them protect their investment as they transition into or out of an alcohol business.

Trademark & Branding

Trademark & Branding

Brand management is more than just trademark registration. We help clients develop a cohesive legal strategy to protect their brand now and in the future.

Employer / Employee

Employer / Employee

Especially for new businesses, navigating the issues of hiring and managing employees is a potential minefield. The alcohol component makes it doubly so. We help clients manage and mitigate employer risk.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

IP is more than just trademark. We help clients with non-competes, non-disclosure, and trade secret issues that are specific and tailored to the alcohol industry.

Who We Are

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Who or What is Beer Law Center?

We are Beer Law Center, a small boutique practice area that focuses on providing legal services to the craft beverage community. Our name is Beer Law Center, but we are more than just beer. We work exclusively with breweries, wineries, distilleries, and all other alcohol beverage suppliers and retailers. We started more than 10 years ago and dedicated our practice to serving the craft beverage industry.

Our start was working with the wonderfully exciting and expanding beer culture in North Carolina, hence the name. We still honor that tradition and where we came from, but in the intervening years, we've branched out into handling a wide range of suppliers and retailers - the common thread being the desire to create a premium, artisanal product that the manufacturer has poured their heart and soul into. We thrive on the passion for creativity, science, and "can-do" attitude that this industry has developed as a culture. We strive to provide best-in-class service while being sensitive to our clients' needs and limitations as independent, startup, and growing businesses. Our goal is to form long term relationships with our clients. We are not interested in a "one and done" client. We want to partner with our clients and be with them as they grow, expand, and develop; this year, next year, and for the next 10+ years. More than half of our clients have been with Beer Law Center since they started their business and we feel privileged that they keep coming back to us for their legal needs.

Our commitment to our clients is that we will do our very best to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Is this always possible? No. We are a boutique firm with a very focused practice area. We cannot always help with complex "bet-the-company" litigation, or some very specialized areas - such as IPOs for publicly traded companies. But, our commitment to our clients is that, "if we can't handle it, we'll help you find someone who can. " A guiding principle for our firm is "the most important thing is that the client gets what they need and we all get better wine/beer/spirits." As a result, if we cannot meet your needs, we will be candid with you and tell you. Then, we will help connect you with someone in our large network of specialist colleagues with experience that can help you in your situation.

What We Believe

We do not believe in "hoarding" information and will always provide as much information, insight, and advice as we can, even in a free consultation and even if you do not hire us. We will tell you when you do, or do not, need an attorney. We are committed to the industry and its people, not just to making money.

Our founder, John Szymankiewicz, has been a homebrewer for more than 25 years and is a certified Cicerone, BJCP Judge, and Level II WSET in Wines. For John, this is more than just a job, it is a passion and life's work. That passion led to the creation of Beer Law Center. Since its founding, Beer Law Center has helped over 200 small and independent alcohol businesses achieve their business goals. And we always feel grateful for our clients' trust in us to represent their best interests. John's commitment to clients and the industry runs through everything that Beer Law Center does. Let our team help you to grow and develop your business today and for the future.


Connect With Us

Location Information


127 W Hargett St #100,
Raleigh, NC 27601

Call Us

(FAX) 919-335-5291

Email Us


Open Hours

Monday - Friday
8:00AM - 05:00PM

Our Team

John Head Shot

John R Szymankiewicz,
Esq., P.E.

Founder, Managing Partner

Click Here To Learn More About John
Chris Headshot

Chris Hamby,

Alcohol Associate Attorney

Click Here To Learn More About Chris


Some Of Our Clients