Career Pathways: Alcoholic Beverage Law

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Alcoholic Beverage Law deals with legal issues impacting the manufacture, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.  This includes applications for and issuance of liquor licenses, liability arising out of the sale of alcoholic beverages, and state and federal regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages.  Laws relating to the sale of alcoholic beverages differ from state to state.  State law governs the blood alcohol threshold establishing liability for driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated (DUI laws).  Federal laws are implicated in other areas of alcoholic beverage law.

Alcoholic beverage law attorneys can practice for the government with a regulatory / enforcement agency, in big corporate settings, such as with an alcoholic beverage manufacturer or distributor, or in the hospitality, hotel or restaurant industry.  States, counties, and cities typically require businesses to apply for and maintain liquor licenses to sell alcoholic beverages.  Attorneys familiar with the licensing procedure are often instrumental in this process.  Similarly, attorneys familiar with DUI laws represent clients who have been arrested for DUI offenses.  For additional information on Alcoholic Beverage Law, see National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA); National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys.

Job Types Typical Duties
Federal Agencies
  • Make and enforce rules and regulations.
  • Review policies and draft reports.
State Agencies
  • Enforce the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage industries.
Local Government
  • Enforce the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage industries.
Private Law Firms
  • Help clients obtain a liquor license.
  • Defend clients against claims arising out of the sale of alcohol.
  • Represent clients in front of regulatory boards of the government.
  • Advise and counsel clients on issues relating to taxes, licensing, manufacturing, distributing, and sale of alcohol. 

Other Activities

  • Obtain an internship with an alcoholic beverage law or restaurant or food services attorney, an attorney who has clients who manufacture alcohol, a government agency, or a firm.
  • Periodically check Symplicity Job Board for opportunities in this area of law.

Curriculum Considerations

Take a look at the Law Curriculum Mapping Guide to see courses related to a career in Alcoholic Beverage Law.  In addition, it will help you identify faculty that you can speak to regarding this area of practice.