Former DBPR Executive and NCSLA Immediate Past President Thomas Philpot Joins GrayRobinson National Alcohol Beverage Practice

November 21, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – GrayRobinson today announced former Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Chief of Staff, Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Director, and National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) Past President Thomas Philpot has joined the firm’s National Alcohol Beverage Practice as a shareholder in the Tallahassee office. Informed by his experiences in these state and national roles, Philpot is uniquely positioned to provide strategic counsel to industry sector clients related to alcoholic beverages, tobacco, food, lodging, and other associated interests intersecting with the broader hospitality marketplace.

“Thomas is a consummate professional, and we consider him a pivotal addition to our Nationwide Alcohol Industry Group," said GrayRobinson Shareholder and Regulated Products Section Chair Richard Blau. “As the recent past president of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, Thomas is recognized and respected across the country by industry members and regulators alike.”

At GrayRobinson, Philpot will support market participants in navigating regulatory channels and advancing competitive business plans in Florida and across the nation. Drawing from more than a decade of public sector service, Philpot carries a strong understanding of the principles and practices that guide the regulatory approach to enforcing the standards of law governing a series of highly regulated products, services, and occupations. With these insights, Philpot will assist clients in identifying pathways for regulatory compliance, pursuing objectives for the improvement of regulatory policy, and establishing connections with public officials in Florida and throughout the United States.

“In my years as a regulator, I respected the depth of preparation and proficiency that GrayRobinson’s team consistently invested in their representation of client interests, and I appreciated the candor and enthusiasm that accompanied their commitment to achieving client objectives on many complex matters,” said Philpot. “I share these values, and I am honored to bring my experience to such a high-caliber team of professionals who are striving every day to find solutions and deliver results for clients facing regulatory challenges at all levels of government.”

Prior to joining GrayRobinson, Philpot served as the chief of staff for DBPR for nearly four years during Governor Ron DeSantis’ first term, where he led the regulatory policy initiatives and daily operations of the agency in the licensure and regulation of more than 1.4 million businesses and professionals across more than 30 occupational fields. During his tenure, the department implemented Florida’s most comprehensive occupational licensing reform package with the passage of the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act in 2020.

Philpot also served four years as the director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco during a period of substantial growth in Florida’s alcoholic beverage industry. As director, Philpot administered a series of advancements in the Florida Beverage Law and the operations of the division, including the expansion of retail premises options for breweries and on-site sales privileges for craft distilleries, extension of authorized alcohol delivery channels, increase in the cap on temporary alcoholic beverage permits, reform of excise taxes on passenger vessels and certain beverage products, clarification of special license requirements for caterers and food service establishments, and introduction of new license types and other amendments of law that have shaped Florida’s current regulatory system for these products.

In 2021, Philpot was elected and served as the national president of NCSLA, representing the conference’s 46 state and local member jurisdictions and supporting multi-state collaboration on regulatory policy and related matters involving multiple state jurisdictions. Philpot was the conference’s first president elected from Florida in nearly 40 years and only the third since the organization’s establishment following the repeal of Prohibition.

Philpot is a member of The Florida Bar. He is a graduate of Class 3 of Leadership Florida Connect, Class V of the Florida Gubernatorial Fellows, and Class 51 of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Chief Executive Seminar. Philpot earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law, where he served as president of the Moot Court Team.

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