Nicole Hancock

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Nicole Hancock is a partner of Stoel Rives who specializes in providing counseling and litigation legal services to beer, wine and distillery businesses. She has experience with litigation matters, commercial contracts, product liability lawsuits, wine and beer franchise disputes, trade secret violations, unfair practices claims, consumer protection, and corporate torts. Nicole also represents beer and wine distributors with local franchise law and regulatory counseling, and growers and agricultural entities with grower contracts, processing agreements, production contracts, Department of Agriculture investigations and appeals, PACA claims, and other agricultural law-related issues. Nicole's legal know-how and courtroom experience allow her to develop and implement winning litigation strategies.

Nicole returned to Stoel Rives after working as corporate counsel for Syngenta Seeds, Inc., a global agriculture company. As corporate counsel, Nicole managed all aspects of the NAFTA vegetable seeds legal department, including counseling on general business matters, seed law, employment matters, drafting business transactional agreements, intellectual property in and out licenses, and general corporate legal counseling. Nicole also managed large complex litigation matters, which included multi-million-dollar product liability claims.

Practice Areas

  • Wine and Vineyard Law
  • Food Liability
  • Agribusiness
  • Corporate Litigation
Bar Admissions
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Willamette University College of Law, J.D., 2002, magna cum laude
    Editor-in-Chief, Willamette Law Review
  • Western Oregon University, B.S., American Sign Language English Interpretation, 1998

Articles By This Author

SB 1335 and What it Means for Idaho Distilleries

Beginning July 1, 2014, Idaho distilleries will be allowed to provide samples of their products at their manufacturing facilities, as has been permitted at breweries and wineries throughout the state of Idaho for quite some time. There are some conditions on the samples offered by a manufacturer: (1) the samples must be free; (2) samples must be offered on the premises of the manufacturer’s distillery site; (3) samples are limited to one-quarter of one ounce; (4) a person can only receive up to 3 samples in a 24-hour period; (5) samples must be served by a person over the age of 21. In addition, the manufacturer must purchase the distilled spirits from the Idaho State Liquor Division, and pay all appropriate taxes on the purchased samples.

The change in the law, which passed through the Idaho legislature on March 13, is prompted by the opportunities for state and agricultural suppliers to increase revenue and employment opportunities in Idaho.

Prior to the legislative change, visitors of Idaho distilleries could view the distilling process, but they could not taste or consume any of the spirits. As a result, Idaho distilleries lost the opportunity sales from the potential customers who toured their facilities, and there was likely a reduced interest in distillery tours without the opportunity to sample the product on the tour. Product samples are expected to boost product sales from those who embark on the distillery tours, as well as make the tour a more compelling marketing tool for the distilleries.

The new law impacts not only the current eight Idaho distilleries, but the future of the Idaho distillery market. Idaho’s willingness to respond legislatively to the distilleries business needs is a positive sign of support from an otherwise conservative state.

The Idaho State Liquor Division controls the importation, distribution, sale and consumption of distilled spirits in Idaho. The ISLD is responsible for balancing the curtailment of excessive use of alcohol while maximizing the revenues to the citizens of Idaho. Manufacturers of distilled spirits must be licensed in Idaho, which is overseen by the ISLD and licensed by the alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Idaho Wine, Beer & Distilleries Law Seminar - Thursday, March 1, 2012

Please join us for our inaugural Idaho Wine, Beer & Distillers law seminar at the Boise Centre in Boise, ID on Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Panels to include these hot topics, plus much more:

  • Start-ups (licensing, permitting and business formation)
  • Trademarks (protecting your investment)
  • Distribution and other key contracts
  • Land use issues
  • Employee matters

For registration visit:

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