Robert F. Lewis focuses his practice on the laws governing alcohol industry members at all three tiers as well as tobacco, and other regulated products. Rob has accumulated over 25 years of experience in the alcohol industry including previously serving in law enforcement and as a special agent with the State of Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. His practice includes diverse and multi-discipline areas of legal needs common to hospitality, alcohol, and tobacco industry clients. Rob’s experience includes working with foreign and domestic alcohol industry clients on a wide variety of issues including alcohol licensing and structuring of alcohol service operations, alcohol trade practice analysis and consulting, defending regulatory enforcement actions as well as state and federal investigations of alcohol industry members, administrative litigation, land use and zoning analysis and approval processes, and state and local government lobbying efforts. As a former police officer, and special agent with the State of Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Rob has experience with the processes and methods by which government regulators investigate and apprehend alcohol and tobacco law violators. Rob has also served as an expert witness on matters relating to alcohol beverage law and administrative code provisions in Florida.
Rob’s experience includes assisting clients with business permitting and transfers of business licenses as a result of new business ventures, expansion, and national mergers and acquisitions between hospitality and alcohol industry clients including contractual issues, obtaining business tax receipts, building permitting, certificates of use and occupancy, and other related operational permits.
Rob’s clients include domestic and foreign alcohol and tobacco suppliers, importers, wholesalers, real estate developers, and a broad range of alcohol retailers, including large box retailers, national restaurant chains, national pharmacies, nightclubs, private clubs, national retail chains, bars, national hotel chains and national hotel management companies, restaurateurs, sports arenas, including MLB and NBA sport franchises, national movie theater companies, entertainment complexes and establishments, and other members of the hospitality and alcohol industry.
Mr. Lewis has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, in Florida for Food and Beverage Law, as one of only two attorneys selected in the State in 2015, and he has been ranked by Chambers USA in the Nationwide category for Food & Beverages: Alcohol. Additionally, he received an AV Preeminent ranking (the highest ranking possible) by his peers from Martindale-Hubbell. According to Chambers, clients "praise his in-depth comprehension of the many nuances of the various state alcohol licensing permit processes. He is very good at explaining the process and having all of the work done in a professional and efficient manner."
Notable Speaking Engagements, Publications & Recognition:
- WhiskyCast podcast with Mark Gillespie, February, 2018 - discussion of logistics of producing a Special Edition Super Bowl Whisky. https://whiskycast.com/celebrating-5-years-at-the-dead-rabbit-episode-681-february-18-2018/
- Quoted in Trump Tax Cut Might Keep the Cost of Craft Beer Down — or Put it Out of Business, December 2017, The Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/restaurants/article196333249.html
- Speaker at national and regional conferences on topics of alcohol beverage law, business strategies, regulated products, and alcohol related liability;
- Martindale-Hubbell, Rated AV Preeminent;
- U.S. News & World Report, "Best Lawyers in America", Food & Beverage Law, 2015-2018;
- Chambers USA, Ranked in the Nationwide category for Food & Beverages: Alcohol, 2014-2017;
- South Florida Legal Guide, "Top Attorney", 2012-2018;
- South Florida Legal Guide, "Top Up and Comer", 2007-2010, 2012;
- Author and Co-Author, numerous legal articles related to alcohol beverage law and the alcohol beverage industry, including being published by Aspatore Books
Professional and Community Involvement:
- Thomas University School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Inaugural Class, Alcohol Beverage Law, 2005
- American Bar Association, Administrative Law Section, Member
- American Bar Association, Committee on Alcohol Beverage Practice, Member
- First Amendment Lawyers Association, Member
- International Council of Shopping Centers, Member
- National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys, Member, 2007-Present
- National Association of Licensing & Compliance Professionals (NALCP), Member
- The Florida Bar, Administrative Law Section, Member
- The Florida Bar, City, County, and Local Government, Member