B as in “Benefit”: The “New Kid on the Block” of Corporate Governance

With an alphabet soup of corporate structures available to U.S. businesses (think C-corp, S-corp, LLC, LLP, etc.) you might guess that creating another would be the last thing on the minds of new business owners.  However, the success of socially mindful entrepreneurs and companies that boast both profit and positive social impact has increased interest in prioritizing social issues in addition to shareholder returns.

One recent incarnation of this concept is the benefit corporation.  The term “benefit corporation” is a distinct type of legal entity and is not to be confused with the term “B-corp” which refers to a certification from the nonprofit “B Lab.”  That certification is akin to Fair Trade certification as it imposes non-legal obligations that companies pledge to uphold in exchange for “B-corp” status awarded by B Lab.  (more…)

Tips on Tap for Breweries on the Journey from Passion to Profit

As the number of craft breweries across the country continues to grow, Verrill Dana’s Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries Group presents Tap Tips Podcast Miniseries to help brewers on the journey from passion to profit.

The miniseries contains eight episodes to assist up-and-coming brewmasters and brewery owners to think critically about the issues affecting their business. These podcasts provide information and practical tips for navigating the various complex issues that may arise at any stage, from business formation to licensing to risk management. (more…)

No New COLA Required to Add Brewers Association’s Independent Craft Brewer Seal to Labels

The Brewers Association continues to streamline the process for eligible brewers to adopt the new independent craft brewers seal. Obtaining a license to use the new seal is relatively straightforward and only requires (1) a valid Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Brewer’s Notice, (2) confirmation that your brewery falls within the Brewers Association’s “craft brewer” definition, and (3) agreement to and compliance with certain licensing terms. More information about the new independent craft brewer seal can be found in our previous blog post, “In the Beer Aisle: Independent Craft Brewers to Stand Out from the Rest of the Pack(s).” (more…)

In the Beer Aisle: Independent Craft Brewers to Stand Out from the Rest of the Pack(s)

The Brewers Association (BA) recently launched a seal to certify that a craft brewer is independent.  This seal is, at least in part, in response to the global beer monoliths buying up formerly independent craft brewers as the large brewers’ share of the market started to shrink.  With more macro producers claiming independent micro and craft beer status via acquisitions, the time is ripe to clarify for consumers whether the beer they are buying is truly from a small, independent, craft brewery. (more…)

PODCAST: What’s Brewing in Real Estate Development: An Interview with Bob Gaudreau

In this episode of Verrill Voices: What’s Brewing in Real Estate, Spencer Thibodeau interviews Bob Gaudreau of Hardypond Construction, about one of the construction company’s recent, and unique, projects. The discussion takes place over a flight at Allagash Brewing Company and focuses on the renovation and repurposing of a neighborhood church into a multi-unit residential building. Learn more about the challenges Bob and his team faced throughout the process, and how they overcame them to showcase the building’s features, while creating a practical residential space. Listen to the podcast here or subscribe to Verrill Voices on iTunes. Photos from the recording can be found on Verrill Dana’s Facebook page. (more…)

78 Taps of Beer on the – Shipping Container?

On June 24, the people of Reykjavik, Iceland will get a taste of Maine in their hometown – 78 taps of beer to be exact. After years of planning and a great deal of collaboration between the Maine Brewers Guild and various brewers and industry partners throughout the state, the Maine Beer Box, a traveling international beer festival, was born. The 40-foot refrigerated shipping container features 78 taps from more than 50 Maine breweries. After completing the nine-day maiden voyage to Iceland, the beer will be served to more than 1,000 people at the BjórFestival. (more…)

Brewing Up a Small Business: Legal Issues Affecting Maine’s Craft Breweries

On June 8, Verrill Dana attorney, Tawny Alvarez, will participate in a panel discussion entitled, “Brewing Up a Small Business: Legal Issues Affecting Maine’s Craft Breweries,” hosted by the Cumberland Bar Association at Preti Flaherty in Portland, Maine. Joining Tawny are Perkins Thompson attorney Christopher Dargie and Maine Beer Company founder Dan Kleban. The Maine Beer Company has grown from a one-barrel operation in 2009 to a nationally recognized brewery now in the process of its second major expansion in four years. (more…)

Labels – It’s Not just the TTB that’s watching

As purveyors of beverages containing alcohol, most craft brewers, distillers and wineries are aware of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax And Trade Bureau (“TTB”) rules for labels, and the sometimes onerous task involved in getting those labels approved.  To avoid extra expenses and delays, those who are not aware of the TTB requirements need to quickly get up to speed on those rules or engage counsel who can guide you through the process.  We cannot overstate the importance of following TTB rules, and making sure every label change conforms with the rules, including new approvals where necessary.  The TTB takes the rules very seriously.  So seriously that it annually conducts a random compliance investigation and publicly publishes the results of that investigation. (more…)

Leading the Pack: One Brewery’s Leave Policies Are Pawsitively Unique

We talk a lot about the parameters of leave programs.  New state laws that are popping up regularly that expand on employee leave rights.  While we focus on the legal aspects of all leave laws, we do recognize the importance of having leave policies that work for the culture of your organization.  Many companies in the United Kingdom are doing just that.

A Scotland-based craft beer company, BrewDog, is offering leave to employees welcoming new four-legged members into their family.  BrewDog, a brewery started in Scotland that has since expanded internationally with over 1,000 employees is offering a week of paid “Pawternity” or “Mutternity” leave to any employee welcoming a new dog into their family.  BrewDog has found enough success with the program in the United Kingdom that they are now instituting the policy in the United States.  (more…)

How Big is the Bite for Failing to Accommodate Service Animals?

Multiple New England breweries in the last week have made the difficult decision to no longer permit four-legged friends within tasting rooms.  This article provides absolutely no opinion on those decisions—they are difficult decisions that are personal to the breweries.  If, however, you own, manage, or are simply employed by a bar, brewery, or other establishment that has made the decision to no longer permit four-legged friends, understanding what your responsibilities are in allowing service animals on the property is paramount.

The media has hyped up pigs on planes, emotional support turkeys, miniature horses—but understanding what must and need not be accommodated under federal public accommodation laws is important. Understanding what qualifies as a service animal, as well as what federal requirements permit and prohibit, is necessary to know your rights and responsibilities under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (more…)