Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has launched a new Craft Brewery Industry Group
, becoming one of the first law firms in Michigan to provide an integrated team approach for the multibillion-dollar craft brewing industry. The group is designed to help hops processors, breweries, bars and restaurants navigate a complex regulatory environment and manage all the issues that come with "growth."
The industry group is chaired by Ian R. Kennedy. He says one of the compelling needs for businesses within this industry revolves around governance decisions. "The biggest needs we are seeing are associated with managing startup businesses and expansions," Kennedy says, "how the entities are formed and the business structure. Going forward it is about figuring out expansion: how to access capital, issues with financing and partnering with other service providers."
Kennedy says the "sheer explosion" of growth makes this a very interesting industry to work with: "We've seen huge jumps in production in the last 20-25 years."
He says the growth and popularity is easily seen in many different parts of the supply chain. "You walk down a beer aisle in a retailer now, and it's like a wine aisle, with so many different brands to select from," Kennedy says.
While Kennedy does not necessarily see another major craft brewer like Founders or Bell's emerging (although he does not rule it out), he says there is still plenty of opportunity for growth within the craft beer sector. "I don't know if we'll see another giant emerge but there is a strong presence for local beer in local communities," he says. "There are still plenty of niches to inhabit."
The group is a new subset of Warner's Agribusiness & Food Industry Group. Michigan brewers who have already begun working with the firm include Arcadia Brewing, BarFly Ventures, Founders Brewing Co., Perrin Brewing and several more.
Warner Norcross is a corporate law firm with 230 attorneys practicing in eight offices throughout Michigan: Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb County, Midland, Muskegon and Southfield.
To learn more about this group, you can check out their site here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor