Richard M. Blau - Attorney at Law

401 East Jackson Street
Suite 2700
Post Office Box 3324 (33601-3324)
Tampa, Florida 33602

P 813-273-5000
F 813-273-5145
D 813-273-5128

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Richard M. Blau leads GrayRobinson’s Alcohol Industry Team, focusing on the laws that govern the manufacture, importation, distribution, marketing, sale and consumption of beer, wine, distilled spirits and other licensed beverages. Richard devotes a substantial portion of his practice to trade regulation, brand development and protection, M & A compliance guidance, litigation and mediation involving the members of the alcohol industry. An elected member of The American Law Institute, Richard is a member of the bar duly licensed to practice law in Florida, New York and the District of Columbia. In addition to having served for six years as the Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Alcohol Beverage Practice, Richard has testified as an expert on alcohol-related issues before legislative bodies in Florida, Hawaii, New York, and writes and lectures extensively on Twenty First Amendment issues. He has been featured as a speaker and lecturer at the annual meetings of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA), the annual legal symposia hosted by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), the nationwide meetings conducted by regulatory groups such as the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA), and industry events such as the Center for Alcohol Policy’s annual Alcohol Law Symposium and the TIPS-sponsored Annual Alcohol Responsibility Conference. Richard’s proficiency has been recognized by Chambers and Partners (Mr. Blau is ranked nationally as “Band 1” for Food & Beverage Law), as well as by Best Lawyers in America. Prior to joining GrayRobinson, Richard was a partner at Holland & Knight LLP and created that law firm’s alcohol beverage legal practice. Richard received his B.A. from Brandeis University, and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as the Associate Editor for Topics of the Georgetown Law Journal.

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Richard is a member of The Florida Bar, The District of Columbia Bar, the New York State Bar, the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the American Association for Justice. He recently concluded six years of service as the chair of the American Bar Association's Committee on Beverage Alcohol Practice and is a member of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys (AHIA). He also is an industry member of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) as well as the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), and lectures on 21st Amendment issues before regulators at annual meetings of both organizations as well as the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA).

Richard is admitted to practice law in the following courts: U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 11th and Federal circuits, U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern districts of Florida, U.S. Court of Military Appeals, Florida Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Additionally, he is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Richard earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1979 from Brandeis University and his juris doctor in 1982 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as associate editor for topics of the Georgetown Law Journal. Prior to joining GrayRobinson, he was a partner at Holland & Knight LLP, where he originated that firm's alcohol beverage law practice.

  • Brandeis University, B.A. (1979)
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. (1982) 
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of International Trade
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 11th and Federal Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida 
  • U.S. Court of Military Appeal s
  • Florida Supreme Court
  • New York State Court of Appeals
  •  District of Columbia Court of Appeals 
Professional Associations & Memberships
  • American Bar Association
    • ABA Committee on Beverage Alcohol Practice, Chairman (1996-present)
  • The Florida Bar
    • Grievance Committee 13-A, Chairman (1990-1992)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • The American Law Institute, elected Member (1995-present)
  • The National Conference of State Liquor Administrators
    • Industry Member (1989-present)
    • Executive Committee Member (2003-present)
  • The Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys (2001-present)
    • Board of Directors
  • Craft Beverage Lawyers Guild, Founding Member 
  •  Feeding America Tampa Bay, Board of Directors, Chair, 2014
Awards & Recognitions
  • Chambers USA, Band 1 (National), Food & Beverages: Alcohol, 2008-2018
  • AV Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2011-2018
  • Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2018
  • Florida Trend, "Legal Elite," 2006-2010
  • Tampa Top Rated Lawyer, Alcohol Beverage, 2013
Articles & Publications
  • "Fruits And Vegetables With Higher Potassium Levels May Help Reduce Arterial Sclerosis And Calcification," Fintech Focus, October 2017
  • "Brewery Recycling: New Process Converts Spent Brewery Grains Into Beer Yeast," Fintech Focus, September 2017
  • "Update 2017 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions Identifies Two Rule-Making Priorities for TTB," September 2017
  • "Initial Congressional “Listening Session” For 2018 Farm Bill Scheduled For Florida," Fintech Focus, June 2017
  • "The California ABC Wins One For The Gipper’s State Tied-House Laws," June 2017
  • "GrayRobinson Ends Florida 2017 Legislative Session with Major Alcohol Accomplishments," May 2017
  • "Scientists Publish New Study Analyzing How Bread Aromas And Tastes Interact To Produce Flavor," May 2017
  • "China's Wine Imports Grow Dramatically Without U.S.," December 2016
  • "Trump's Cabinet Picks: Too Soon for Doom?" December 2016
  • “FDA’s Next Action on Defining ‘Natural’ for Food Labeling Purposes Remains Unclear,” July, 2016
  • "TTB Steps Up: New Agency Ruling Makes Clear That Tied-House Exception for Shelf Plans and Schematics Does Not Encompass Broader Service by Distributors," Fintech Focus, February, 2016
  • "Counting Calories: Many Restaurants and Vending Machines Will Soon Be Required to List Calorie Information on Their Menus," Beverage World, October, 2015
  • "What's in it for you? The “State-Action” Exemption to Federal Antitrust Law and The U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision of North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission," Fintech Focus, May 2015
  • "Craft Brewing and the Alternating Proprietorship," Fintech Focus, March, 2015
  • "Drunk Driving Rates Continue to Fall," Fintech Focus, February, 2015
  • "The Rapid Revolution in Craft Distilling, and What's Ahead in 2015, Fintech Focus, January 2015
  • "Beverage Alcohol Practice" in Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice 2005-2006, ABA Publishing 2007
  • "The Role of the Food and Beverage Attorney," Best Practices for Alcohol Beverage, Food and Drug Law, 2006
  • "USDA Pulls Plug on Federal Funding For Florida's Citrus Canker Eradication Program," March 2006
  • "GOT MILK? For Students, and School Administrators," It's Not a Simple Question, March 2006
  • "U.S. Supreme Court Decides Direct Shipment of Wine Case," November 2005
  • "Binge Drinking on Campus: Be Aware of the Legal Restrictions on Coping With Excessive Alcohol Consumption," October 18, 2004
  • "California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Penalty Guideline Emergency Rule; Effective April 14, 2004," June 9, 2004
  • "The Supreme Court's Tobacco Ruling May Foretell Future of Beverage Alcohol Advertising Restrictions," October 22, 2001
  • "Why State Regulators Require Fingerprints, Personal Questionnaires, and Detailed Financial Information Before They Will Issue Alcohol Beverage License," March 23, 2001
  • "Increasing Beer Consumption Concerns Russian Government," February 26, 2001
  • "Debates Continue Over Liability for Deaths Caused by On-Campus 'Binge Drinking'," November 22, 2000
  • "President Clinton Signs Twenty-first Amendment Enforcement Act," November 22, 2000
  • "Wyoming Narrowly Rejects Efforts To Further Restrict Internet Sales Of Alcohol," November 22, 2000
  • "Georgia's New Direct Shipping Law Goes Into Effect," September 1, 2000
  • "ATF Now Requires Filled Representative Sample Bottles For Certain COLA Applications," September 1, 2000
  • "Business Consolidation Trends Expand Into Wine Industry," September 1, 2000
  • "Oregon Adopts Responsible Vendor Program," September 1, 2000
  • "Update Your IP Policies To Address Distance Learning And Avoid Disputes," August 1, 2000
  • "Oregon Adopts "Responsible Vendor" Program," June 1, 2000
  • "Will The Internet End The 3-Tier System?," June 1, 2000
  • "Politicians Ring in The New Year With Various Alcohol Initiatives," March 1, 2000
  • "NYC's DWI Seizure Scheme Survives Initial Judicial Review," December 19, 1999
  • "Massachusetts Colleges Ordered to Notify Parents When Students Violate School Alcohol Policies," December 19, 1999
  • "Wisconsin Governor Splits on Wine-Spirits Franchise Law," September 1, 1999


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