Chris Hermann

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Chris Hermann is the founding chair of Stoel Rives’ Brewery, Winery, and Distillery group and a former co-chair of the firm’s Beverage and Hospitality group. He has worked with Northwest breweries, wineries, vineyards, and distilleries for many years. Chris has particular experience with transactions involving the purchase, sale, and LLC formation of breweries, wineries, vineyards, and distilleries, preparing and prosecuting trademark applications, obtaining water rights and land use permits and approvals, advising owners on employment and termination agreements, and drafting and negotiating grape purchase contracts, vineyard leases and custom crush, joint proprietorship, vineyard development and maintenance, and bottling and distribution agreements. Since 2013, Chris has been listed by Chambers USA as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Nationwide) in the Food & Beverages: Alcohol practice area.

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Significant Tax Credits for the Alcoholic Beverage Industry

Late last year, the President signed the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Act of 2020, which made most of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (“CBMTRA”) provisions permanent starting January 1, 2021.  The CBMTRA makes extensive changes to the federal excise taxes on wine, distilled spirits, and beer.… Continue Reading

California Expands Overtime for Farmworkers

The following is an adaptation by my colleague Tony DeCristoforo of a post by Bryan Hawkins, Kirk Maag and Adam Belzberg that originally appeared on Stoel Rives World of Employment blog. California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 1066, which will require grape growers and other agricultural employers in California to pay overtime under the same … Continue Reading

Issues that private equity firms should consider before acquiring alcohol beverage producers

By Chris Hermann and Bernie Kipp: Type of Transaction – Asset Purchase versus Stock Purchase. Very important if the acquiring entity wants an immediate continuing operations privilege. Specifically If a PE firm  purchases the assets of the target company  (including the operating name, equipment, IP, inventory and the current brewery  building) and intends to do … Continue Reading

Licensed beer/wine Distributors also selling non-alcohol beverages in Washington state

Due to the explosive growth of craft beer sales in many states, including Washington, many distributors are combining non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage sales into their distribution business.  A key point for Washington distributors is to be aware that the Washington Liquor Control Board (WLCB) contends that the so-called “Tied-House” rules governing the sale of alcoholic … Continue Reading

Fox Business Network Profiles Winery Owner Pascal Brooks in “Strange Inheritance” Episode

Congratulations to Pascal Brooks and Janie Heuck for their tremendous success growing Brooks Winery and keeping alive the memory of Pascal’s father and Janie’s brother Jimi.  We join them in looking forward to viewing Strange Inheritance With Jamie Colby that tells the amazing story of their journey to preserve the winery for Pascal, which was … Continue Reading

Rebuilding: Dealing with or Without Earthquake Insurance

The following post was written by my colleagues Tom Woods, Parissa Ebrahimzadeh & Bao Vu As part of the Northern California business community and as an advisor to business, we support the Napa and the surrounding Bay Area in getting homes and businesses back on their feet following the August 24, 2014 Napa Valley earthquake. … Continue Reading

Reclamation Will Not Approve the Use of Federal Irrigation Water for Marijuana Cultivation

This post is authored by Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources lawyer Kirk Maag of Stoel Rives. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a temporary policy regarding the use of water from Reclamation reservoirs for activities prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA)—for example, growing marijuana. The temporary policy is effective for one … Continue Reading

Distribution Agreements: Cover Your Bases!

Before entering into a distribution agreement, alcohol beverage producers should do their homework. Here is a list of questions to ask a potential distributor: Where are you doing business as a distributor? How long have you been in business? How did you get started? Is your state a franchise state? Are you affiliated with a … Continue Reading

Top 5 Takeaways From This Year’s Wine Law Seminar

Stoel Rives’ 7th Annual Oregon Wine Law Seminar attracted nearly 100 wine industry professionals and covered several hot topics ranging from employment law, allergen and organic labeling regulations, growler enforcement and other legislative updates, and distribution agreements. We also caught up with Mark Freund, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank, Kevin O’Brien, Director – Business Advisory, … Continue Reading

Conditions For Using Multi-state AVAs On Wine Labels

By Chris Hermann and Bernie Kipp: The recent notice of the proposed new AVA “The Rocks” in northeast Oregon has kicked off a round of questions about what Northwest wineries may use as an appellation of origin on their labels when grapes are grown in multi-state AVAs such as the Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley, … Continue Reading

New California General Industrial Storm Water Permit Slated For Adoption on April 1, 2014 May Hold Surprises for California’s Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) released for public comment its Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit and supporting documents. This is the fourth (and likely final) version of the Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit, which is designed to replace the existing Industrial Storm Water Permit issued in 1997. The Draft Industrial Storm … Continue Reading

Registration Ends Tomorrow: 6th Annual Oregon Wine Law Seminar

Sign up now to join us this Thursday, April 4 at the Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon for the 6th Annual Oregon Wine Law Seminar. Topics will include federal and state requirements applicable to exporting overseas, export-related distribution agreements, employment law for wineries, status of foreign investments in the U.S. wine industry, trademarking your … Continue Reading

New Elkton Oregon Viticultural Area Established by TTB

On February 5, 2013, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) published a final rule establishing the 74,900-acre "Elkton Oregon" American viticultural area in Douglas County, Oregon. TTB issued this regulation in response to a petition filed by local vintners and grape growers and will allow the use of the name "Elkton, OR" … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits Group Recognized by Chambers USA

Stoel Rives LLP is pleased to announce that the firm’s Wine, Beer and Distilled Spirits group has been recognized by Chambers USA as a nationwide leader in the category of "Food & Beverages: Alcohol." Stoel Rives is one of only 10 firms nationwide to be ranked in this category. Stoel Rives partner and founding chair … Continue Reading


This was announced last week. Bernie Kipp has known Tom Crone for over 30 years.  He hired Bernie for Regulations and later as District Director.  He’s a good guy with a practical approach.  He would be the final decision maker in any action against field permitee.  TOM CRONE NAMED ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR FIELD OPERATIONS TTB Administrator John … Continue Reading

OPB Think Outloud

What a great way to spend a Wednesday morning.  I joined Portland’s thought leaders on all-thing-alcohol this morning at St. Jack restaurant, where we broadcasted live on OPB.  A lively discussion of Oregon’s alcohol industry was lead by On Air Host Emily Harris.  Reasons behind Oregon’s alcohol industry boom, the State’s history with alcohol, and … Continue Reading

Hermann attends Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin Gathering

 The Oregon chapter of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Sous-Commanderie de Portland held its first event on November 29 at Park Kitchen in downtown Portland.  Chapter member Scott  Wright of Scott Paul Wines presented "A Graduate Course: Burgundy 501."  We tasted four flights of White and Red Burgundy from Chablis and the Cote d’Or.  The presentation was superb … Continue Reading

California High-Speed Rail: Vineyards in California’s Central Valley Could be Impacted by its Tracks

  A legal update from our colleague Stacy Gillespie. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) will announce at its December 2, 2010 meeting which segment of the 800-mile HSR will be the first to be built. At its November 4, 2010 meeting, the Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Roelof van Ark, presented the Authority’s Board members … Continue Reading

Bernie Kipp at Great American Distiller’s Festival

Craft distillers from coast to coast attended the 6th Annual Great American Distiller’s Festival (GADF) on October 23 and 24, 2010 at the Tiffany Center in NW Portland. 38 separate distilleries poured more than 70 gins, vodkas, whiskey’s and rums in a celebration of all things “spirited.” Special events included seminars for distillers and tours of Portland distilleries. Seminar presenters … Continue Reading