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State Nuances

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The 21st Amendment allows states to maintain their own distinct effective and uniform systems for controlling distilled spirits by regulating their transportation, importation, and use. This system leads to a set of uniform federal laws that all beverage alcohol producers must adhere to and a patchwork of 50 state systems that regulate distilled spirits in vastly different ways. Deciphering and navigating the nuances between these state regulatory schemes is crucial to successfully promoting and distributing your brands. This course outlines the primary issues handled at the state level, factors to be aware of, and how to leverage these state regulatory landscapes to your advantage.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Learn about the complicated web of state laws and how to find the often-elusive state regulatory or policy guidance to inform your business decisions
2. Evaluate the state versus federal law landscapes and analyze what types of issues are handled on a state by state basis, such as tastings and distillery sales
3. Gain the tools to be able to analyze the state markets they operate in, understand what elements are handled differently among those states, where to go to find state information, and how to chart a path forward for their businesses


  • Bob Budoff

    Bob has been Senior Vice President of State Government Affairs at DISCUS since 2019, after serving more than 26 years as DISCUS Assistant General Counsel and 3 years as DISCUS Associate General Counsel. Bob uses his decades of expertise to guide DISCUS and its members through the industry’s labyrinth of statutes and rules at the state level, as well as editing the DISCUS Summary of State Laws and Regulations. Bob earned his J.D. (cum laude) from the Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from Hamilton College.

  • Sean O’Leary

    Sean O’Leary, the Irish Liquor Lawyer, represents innovators in the liquor industry, lobbies on behalf of the wine and hospitality community, and is actively involved in helping companies develop business models to meet complex regulatory schemes.

    Mr. O’Leary successfully defended numerous business models before state agencies, and works with companies to help them develop direct to consumer business models to conform with state regulatory regimes and succeed in the marketplace. He also authored amicus briefs supporting direct-to-consumer shipping at the United States Supreme Court, Federal Appellate Court, and State Supreme Court levels.

    Acting as a as policy and legal advisor for Cocktails-For-Hope, in six weeks he helped start a grass roots effort that successfully lobbied the Illinois legislature to enact a major law change to allow retailers greater privileges. He drafted legislation and coordinated grass roots support for the movement.

    Further, Mr. O’Leary lobbies on behalf of expanding and opening up the liquor industry to innovation. He has represented wine retailers that want to enhance direct to consumer opportunities.

    Mr. O’Leary attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

  • Ryan Malkin

    Ryan Malkin is an attorney focusing on alcohol beverage and cannabis law. He has extensive experience providing guidance to suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, agencies, and third parties within these regulated industries. As an attorney for a major global wine and spirits supplier, Ryan concentrated on supporting the sales and marketing teams to ensure compliance with rules and regulations in all 50 states. Ryan utilized his experience and knowledge of the industry to help craft compliant programs to help global brands outperform others in their categories.
    Prior to his work at Pernod, Ryan was an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. Ryan investigated and prosecuted all manner of crimes, with an emphasis on long-term white collar crime investigations. Ryan gained unprecedented skills and an understanding of state governmental agencies.

    Ryan’s passion for the alcohol industry began as a staff writer for SmartMoney. Ryan specialized in travel and hospitality writing, with an emphasis on the beverage alcohol industry, covering both brands and category trends. Ryan regularly interviewed executives, brand owners, producers, and industry experts to provide guidance to readers. Ryan also regularly interviewed nightclub and bar owners, designers, managers, and doormen to bring new ventures and cocktail trends to life, and giving Ryan insight into the bar and nightclub business. His articles have appeared in such publications as Beverage Media,, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, DJTimes, and Esquire to name a few

    Ryan was named as a Top Alcohol Beverage Lawyer in South Florida in 2021 by South Florida Legal Guide, with Malkin Law also being a Top Alcohol Beverage Law Firm. Ryan was the Top Alcohol Beverage lawyer in South Florida in the 2020 South Florida Legal Guide. Ryan was named a SuperLawyer and Rising Star in the legal community. Ryan was named one of the top
    250 cannabis law experts.

July 29, 2021
Thu 1:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 0M

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