Overview

About Susan

Susan has more than two decades of experience as an alcohol beverage regulatory attorney. She assists beer, wine and spirits producers, grocers, specialty retailers, restaurant and hotel chain owners and operators, sports and entertainment facility concessionaires, common carriers, contract food service management companies and other beverage and hospitality industry companies by:

  • Providing guidance through complex federal state and local alcohol licensing requirements
  • Developing three-tier compliant sales, distribution, and advertising strategies
  • Coordinating administrative violation defense
  • Advising on regulatory reporting requirements related to changes in corporate ownership and governance
  • Evaluating innovative alcohol products and distribution models
  • Drafting proposed legislation and rule amendments to accommodate emergent alcohol industry business models
  • Collaborating with state and federal alcohol regulators to overcome regulatory challenges for breweries, wineries and distilleries

 

Susan Johnson attracts ample praise for her practice in the alcohol sector, with first-rate expertise in licensing disputes and regulatory matters. Johnson has a strong background in counseling clients on complex transactions and legislative initiatives in relation to alcohol beverage law.”

Chambers USA – Nationwide Food & Beverages: Alcohol Department

 

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Experience

Experience

Two decades’ experience:

  • Providing guidance on tied-house laws and formulating compliant business investment and expansion strategies.
  • Vetting advertising and promotional opportunities for large malt beverage, wine and spirits importers and producers.
  • Providing malt beverage, spirits and wine producers guidance on federal and state regulatory requirements for concert venue and professional and collegiate sport sponsorship agreements and activations.
  • Acting as special counsel for hotel owners and operators in liquor license transitions.

Additional experience:

  • Represented state hoteliers’ association by drafting legislation and implementing rules that created a Hotel liquor license in Washington State.
  • Represented luxury theater in passage of legislation to allow in-theater liquor service.
  • Participated in Washington State Liquor Control Board process that resulted in relaxation of tied-house laws in Washington State.
  • Assisted international brewer in acquisition of craft brewing operations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
  • Assisted largest U.S. winery with winery facility acquisitions in Washington State.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Nationwide) by Chambers USA (currently: Food & Beverages: Alcohol), 2014–2019

Affiliations

  • Member of the Year Award, Washington State Hotel & Lodging Association, 2007
  • Former Director, Washington Wine Industry Foundation
  • Associate Member National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals
  • Member Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys & Consultants
  • Associate Member, National Conference of State Liquor Administrators
  • Associate Member, National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association
  • Associate Member, Washington Brewers Guild
  • Allied Member, Washington State Hospitality Association
  • Allied Member, Brewers Association
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Contributor, Stoel Rives LLP Resource Hub for the Beverage & Hospitality Industry
  • Panelist, “Sponsorship Agreements,” NCSLA Central/Western Regional Conference, Portland, Ore., Sept. 2019
  • Contributor, “Legal Cocktail: What Attorneys Need to Know to Advise Clients in the Rapidly Evolving Alcohol Beverage Industry,” NW Lawyer, June 2019, Vol. 73, No. 5
  • Moderator, “Global Business Wednesday – Lawyering: Wine Law,” University of Washington School of Law, April 12, 2017
  • Presenter, “Developing a Responsible Alcohol Management Policy: What Works – What Doesn’t,” NALCP Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, Oct. 15, 2015
  • Program Co-Chair, “Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries: Practical Issues in the Alcohol Industry,” The Seminar Group, Seattle, Wash., 2014
  • Panelist, “Why do you want to know who I am? Complex Ownership versus Licensing Requirements,” NCSLA Annual Conference, Honolulu Hawaii, 2013,
  • Program Co-Chair, “I-502 Impacts on Business and Real Estate Transactions,” Law Seminars International, Seattle, Wash., 2013
  • Chair, “Washington Wine, Beer and Distillers Law Seminar,” Stoel Rives LLP, Woodinville, Wash., 2012
  • Speaker, “Legal issues: Contracts, PACA, Processor Liens and More,” Third Annual Wine Industry Financial Seminar, Kennewick, Wash., Dec. 1, 2010
  • Speaker, “Bonding Processes and Strategies,” Winery and Wine Distribution Law Conference, 2007, 2008
  • Author, “From Bacchus to Our House: Taxation of the Oregon Wine Industry under Current Twenty-First Amendment and Commerce Clause Jurisprudence,” 73 Or. L. Rev. 711, 1994



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