Richard Blau is the chair of GrayRobinson's Alcohol Beverage & Food Department, and presides over the firm's Alcohol Industry Team. Mr. Blau and his colleagues focus on the rules, regulations, and business practices that govern the marketing, sale, and consumption of distilled spirits, wine, beer, and other licensed beverages.
As a trial lawyer with over twenty years of experience, Mr. Blau has litigated jury and bench trials in state and federal courts. In the area of Alcohol Beverage regulation, Mr. Blau successfully litigated on behalf of manufacturers, setting important precedents for the industry in Geary Distributing Company v. All Brand Importers, Inc., (imposing constitutional limits on the application of a state beer franchise law) and in Jim Taylor Corporation v. Guinness Import Company (defining "brand extension" under Florida law).
Mr. Blau works with all three tiers of the alcohol beverage industry. He has represented international importers and domestic manufacturers, statewide wholesaler trade groups and regional distributors, and retailers (including multistate restaurant and hotel chains) across the United States. Mr. Blau and the firm's Alcohol Industry Team service retail licensees in a variety of ways, including: liquor, tobacco, and lottery licensing; health and food service inspection compliance; responsible vendor and employee training; representation in administrative proceedings; and litigation/dispute resolution.
Mr. Blau also works closely with representatives of state and federal government, drafting administrative rules and proposed legislation - both on behalf of clients, as well as at the request of regulators. For example, Mr. Blau prepared an administrative regulation and statutory amendment at the request of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, to codify the impact of a judicial decision that he successfully obtained on behalf of a client. He has testified before governmental bodies, such as the New York State Assembly, regarding alcohol laws and related issues. Mr. Blau counseled legislators of Hawaii on the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Granholm v. Heald, and recently testified before legislative committees of both the Florida Senate and the House of Representatives regarding issues relating to the direct shipment of wine.
For over a decade, Mr. Blau annually has edited the nationwide Survey of Reported Judicial Decisions Addressing the 21st Amendment and Related Alcohol Laws for the American Bar Association and the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators. Since 1998, he also has authored the chapter "Beverage Alcohol Practice" for the annual Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice published by the American Bar Association. Other publications by Mr. Blau include: a chapter entitled "The Role of the Food and Beverage Attorney," for the anthology Best Practices for AlcoholBeverage, Food and Drug Law, which was published by Aspatore Books; an article co-authored with U.S. Senator Connie Mack (R-Fla.) entitled "The Need for Fair Play: Repealing the Federal Baseball Antitrust Exemption," which was published by the Florida Law Review of the University of Florida's College of Law; a paper, "The Competency and Credibility of Children as Witnesses," which was delivered to the World Conference on Police Psychology at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia; as well as "Speedy Trial: Pre-accusation Delay, Post-accusation Delay, and the Speedy Trial Act of 1975," which was published in the Georgetown Law Journal. Articles related specifically to alcohol industry issues that Mr. Blau has authored are listed below.
Awarded the highest rating assigned by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (AV), Mr. Blau devotes a substantial portion of his practice to trade regulation, litigation and dispute resolution involving the hospitality industry. He has industry-specific experience in the areas of administrative practice and regulatory compliance, advertising and promotional law, intellectual property rights, importation matters, supplier/distribution relations, and alcohol industry business practices. Mr. Blau's proficiency has been recognized by Chambers and Partners (Mr. Blau is ranked "Band 1" for Food & Beverage Law), as well as by repeated and current listing in peer-ranking publications such as Super Lawyers and Florida Trend's "Legal Elite."
Mr. Blau is a member of The Florida Bar, The District of Columbia Bar, the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the American Association for Justice. He recently concluded six years of service as the Chairman of the American Bar Association's Committee on Beverage Alcohol Practice, and is a member of the Academy of Hospitality Industry Attorneys. 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 Twenty-First Amendment issues before regulators at annual meetings of both organizations.
Mr. Blau is admitted to practice law in the following courts: United States Supreme Court; United States Court of International Trade; United States Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh and Federal Circuits; United States District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida; United States Court of Military Appeals; the Florida Supreme Court; and The District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Additionally, he is an elected member of the American Law Institute.
Mr. Blau earned his B.A. in 1979 from Brandeis University and his J.D. 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, Mr. Blau was a partner at Holland & Knight LLP, where he originated that firm's Alcohol Beverage law practice.
ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS