Theodore J. Zeller III, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Chair of its Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group, has been named to The Legal Intelligencer’s 2019 list of “Pennsylvania Trailblazers.”
“Pennsylvania Trailblazers” is a special supplement of The Legal Intelligencer that recognizes professionals who have made a significant impact within the legal industry, specifically on the practice, policy, or technological advancements within their sector. Zeller was named because of his contributions that “helped make Pennsylvania the top U.S. producer of domestically-crafted beers and a leader of direct sales to consumers.”
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized in this first edition of ‘Pennsylvania Trailblazers.’ I feel privileged to be able to merge my passion for Pennsylvania and its breweries with my practice at Norris McLaughlin. The alcohol industry is changing rapidly, and I look forward to those new challenges,” said Zeller.
As longtime counsel to the Brewers of Pennsylvania (BOP) lobbying group, Zeller often advocates for changes in the liquor code. His client bases include restaurants, bars, caterers, breweries, distilleries, and wineries, and as his influence in the industry has grown, so has his client list, which also now includes D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. and Victory Brewing Company. Large or small, Zeller offers clients critical business counsel in the alcohol regulatory field and, if needed, all other areas of counseling and support – whichever they need to grow their business.
Growth often requires legislative change for the freedom to operate a business profitably. In 2011, his efforts began with the Pennsylvania Legislature which resulted in important changes, including an adjustment to brand registration fees for malt or brewed beverages. More recently, Zeller rewrote a portion of the Pennsylvania Liquor Code and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulations for breweries to serve beer on their own premises directly to consumers. That led to the right for a brewery to sell its own beer for on-premises consumption from a brewery’s storage location, without any production requirement at that site.
Zeller’s clients also count on him for the acquisition of liquor licenses and coordinating liquor license transactions in conjunction with deals and transactions handled by his team at the firm, such as real estate, business law, financing, tax law, intellectual property, and litigation.
Norris McLaughlin’s liquor law attorneys handle all issues related to liquor law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, such as licensing, business planning and structuring, transactional counseling, and litigation. They also handle all aspects of federal regulatory permitting from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and trademark filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The firm's liquor clients include brewers, distillers, wholesalers, distributors, restaurants, bars, hotels, stadiums, and other public venues. Many of these businesses are start-ups who are able to leverage the group's experience into controlling initial costs.
Norris McLaughlin's liquor law attorneys are frequent lecturers in the area of liquor law and regularly contribute to the firm’s liquor law blog, Legal Liquor, highlighting legal and business issues in the industry.