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Ashley W. Brandt

Chicago, IL | D 312.256.9427 | F 312.624.6309

Ashley Brandt serves clients as outside counsel across a variety of industries, with a particular focus on alcoholic beverage-related businesses.

Ashley counsels alcoholic beverage clients across the tiers including breweries, distilleries, wholesalers and retailers, and restaurants. He also represents dispensaries and growers in the evolving cannabis and hemp field.

In his role as outside counsel, Ashley advises on risk assessment and supply chain negotiations and contracts, drafts commercial contracts and licensing and software agreements, and helps clients navigate issues in advertising, information technology, and data privacy. He also represents them before regulatory agencies and advises them through litigation. Armed with a thorough understanding of their businesses and goals, Ashley presents clients with creative and effective techniques to help them grow and thrive.

In the food and beverage industry, Ashley represents and advises clients in contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, and advertising and licensing in state and federal courts and before governmental bodies, including the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau, and Federal Trade Commission, as well as state and local agencies and commissions. In supply-chain-related contract negotiations and litigation, he handles complex commercial transactions and the litigation of UCC matters.

Ashley assists clients in every aspect of their businesses, including entity formation, state and federal licensure and permitting, negotiating agreements with wholesalers and distributors, branding, trademarks and trade secrets, legal compliance, alt-prop and contract brewing agreements, financing, and equipment leasing and purchasing. He also counsels food and beverage importers on import-export issues and international sourcing, licensing, and food import compliance agreements. With a passion for the alcoholic beverages industry, Ashley regularly speaks and writes on the topic and publishes the Libation Law Blog, dedicated to legal issues in that sector.

Outside of the food and beverage industry, Ashley counsels clients across areas including construction, real estate, financial services, bankruptcy, and intellectual property.

Ashley and his spouse live in Evanston, Illinois, and enjoy traveling and keeping up with two children.

education & admissions


  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law (J.D., 2003)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (B.A., 2000)

state admissions

  • Illinois, 2003
  • Wisconsin, 2013

federal admissions

  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
services & industries

service areas

industries represented

  • Accommodations
  • Bars
  • Hotels / Resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Animal Production
  • Crop Production
  • Amusement Parks
  • Country Clubs
  • Construction
  • FDA Law & Regulations
  • FTC Law and Regulations
  • Government
  • Real Estate
  • Software Developers
  • FDA Law and Regulations
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Online/Internet Sales
  • Retail Stores
  • Advertising
  • Architectural & Engineering Firms
  • Negotiated multiple alcohol distribution and brokerage agreements for manufacturers and wholesalers
  • Counseled retailers, festivals, and not-for-profits in promotional and advertising campaigns and sponsorship deals
  • Represented tech and beverage start-ups through entity formation, multiple capital raises, real estate acquisition, leasing, permitting, and licensing
  • Represented multiple general contractors and subcontractors in mechanic's lien claims on both public and private projects from lien preparation through prosecution
  • Pursued claims by media companies under the Freedom of Information Act against the federal and state government for media companies and contractors requesting details regarding contracts and procurement
publications & events

Speaking Engagements

  • "Craft Brewers – Risk Management Series," panelist, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Webinar (July 2013)
  • "Reviewing Contracts for Design Services," Legal Issues for Illinois Structural Engineers Seminar (November 2012)
  • "The Future of Food Safety," panelist, Mettler Toledo Food Safety Exchange (June 2012)



in the community

Civic & Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
    • Cannabis Law Section, Chair
    • Agricultural Law Section, Member
    • Illinois Bar Journal, Board
  • Illinois Judges Foundation
    • Lawyers Auxiliary Committee
  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Volunteer Attorney
  • American Distilling Institute
  • Brewers Association
  • Chicago Beer Society
  • Hospitality and Business Association of Chicago
  • Coat Angels
  • Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
  • Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Alliance

Perspectives on employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA litigation to help you attract and retain talent.
Libation Law Blog
Alcoholic beverage and cannabis regulatory and legal updates.
lingua negoti
The language of business.
Ohio Environmental
Insights and commentary for the business and legal community.