Food and drink
Food and drink are not only essential, but emotive. We help food and beverage companies of all sizes to establish a strong brand and protect it robustly, providing market-savvy advice on issues such as labelling, real estate and health and safety.
So much of our lives are experienced and remembered through food and drink. From families sharing meals at home to foodies sharing exciting restaurant dishes on Instagram, we attach a lot of meaning to what we eat and drink – which makes this a very special business to be in.Perhaps that is why so many brands in the sector are still owned by individuals and families. They pass their passion and know-how down the generations, and are rewarded with a place in their customers’ hearts. ‘Consumers are more ready to trust businesses like ours,’ says Francesco Zoning, whose family have been vintners since 1821 and today export tens of millions of bottles of prosecco each year. ‘We’re seen as genuine and authentic.
Advisors who know your industryWe look after the interests of food and drink brands around the world, combining our legal knowledge with an understanding of the sector in which you operate. This enables us to give reliable, cost-effective advice at every stage of your business journey.
Our experience spans commercial agreements, intellectual property, regulatory, tax and real estate. We assisted a group of investors in acquiring the largest wine estate in Tuscany, and advised a Middle Eastern specialty food start-up on how to protect its brand and its profits as it expanded into the US. We’ve also been on hand as Soho House & Co expands its offering from private members’ clubs into stylish restaurant brands including Pizza East and Chicken Shop.
Good tasteWith a long heritage in acting for successful people and families, we offer personal service to every food and drink client. Whether you are a cottage industry or a multinational conglomerate, wherever you are in the world, our team offer solid, savvy advice that will keep you in business for many more years to come.
How we can help
Our highly skilled commercial litigators assist with complex, multi-jurisdictional cases of all kinds. Whether acting for an investor, business or brand, our creative approach gets results.Commercial real estate
Our standout commercial property practice helps well-known businesses to grow around the world. We also work with clients from charities to developers to ensure that their deals go smoothly.Corporate
We are the go-to law firm for private capital, working hard to help individuals, families, startups, household names and charities to grow their assets and protect their interests around the world.Corporate governance
Good governance is more important than ever. Our team offer advice on the regulatory frameworks of different countries where you operate, within the operational context of your business.
Fees for bringing and defending claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal in the employment tribunalFamily businesses
From small companies to global brands, we understand the dynamics of family businesses and what makes them special. We offer a rounded view on everything from tax to succession planning.Immigration
Whether you are an individual, a family or an employer, our lawyers know each country’s systems and speak the local language, helping you to navigate through what can be opaque processes.
With wide industry knowledge and experience, our lawyers will grasp your brand and its context quickly and advise on how best to protect mission-critical intellectual property and data.International corporate tax
With sector knowledge in finance, technology, retail, real estate, hospitality, fashion and luxury brands, our lawyers can guide you to the most suitable global tax arrangements for your business.Residential real estate
We have helped countless individuals and families to acquire and renovate properties around the world. Our goal is always to meet your needs and protect you from unnecessary risk and cost.
Acquisition of a wine estate and hotel facility in Tuscany
We assisted a group of foreign investors with acquiring the largest wine estate and hotel facility in Tuscany, which included corporate due diligence in several jurisdictions and the setting up of the right tax structure for an Italian Special Vehicle company. We continue to assist with further purchases of land for the expansion of the winery.
Disposition of majority stake of UK-based luxury group
We advised a UK-based luxury group of private hotels, restaurants, and private members' clubs in the disposition of a majority stake of the company to a US-based investment fund.
Employment matters for a high-end vintner
We handled employment matters for a high-end vintner, including the development of templates for employee offer letters and confidentiality restraints, and developing managed-risk employee terminations.
Establishment of international operations for European winery
We provided guidance to a European winery at every step in the process of establishing its international operations.
International beer manufacturer
Advised an international beer manufacturer on trademark infringement in Singapore.
International distribution arrangements
We provided comprehensive and strategic advice to various leading Italian and French wine producers in connection with entering into international distribution arrangements in the USA, Canada and Northern Europe.
Investment in Californian company
We represented an individual in their investment in a California limited liability company that is in the business of owning, developing and managing citrus groves in California.
IP and US tax structuring
We advised a Middle Eastern specialty food start-up on IP and US tax structuring and distribution arrangements for their expansion into the US.
Italian wine manufacturer
Managed the trademark portfolio of a leading Italian wine manufacturer.
Joint venture for establishment of chain of wine bars in US, Europe, and Japan
We advised a leading Italian and international wine producer in a joint venture with a leading Italian food brand for the establishment of a chain of wine bars in the US, Europe, and Japan through a combination of owner-managed and franchise units.
Minority investment in US start-up companies
We advised a leading European venture capital fund on its minority investment in various US start-up food and beverage companies.
Represented investors investing in a high-end Italian food market chain
We represented investors investing in a high-end Italian food market chain comprised of restaurants and food stations in New York, Chicago and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Structured investment in leading diet brand
We structured investment by a private equity fund into a leading diet brand and related asset reorganisation to monetise 70% of founder equity.
Trade mark portfolio
We managed the trade mark portfolio of a leading Italian wine manufacturer.
Venezuelan dairy investment
A family office, based in Florida, USA, carrying out an underlying investment in the Venezuelan dairy sector sought our advice on the deal.
Real estate acquisition and leasing matters in the PRC
We acted for the largest hypermarket retailer in the United Kingdom in relation to its real estate acquisition and leasing matters in the PRC.
US micro-venture capital fund
Formation and private offering of a US micro-venture capital fund focusing on the business-to-business digital marketplace and advice on its investments in three portfolio companies: a platform providing athletes and parents with a suite of online tools to streamline the recruiting process; a platform providing restaurants with a trained food delivery staff and system as well as an app which communicates orders received by restaurants; and a platform that allows manufacturers and distributors in the IT sector to communicate with resellers of their products.
Two food entrepreneurs
We used our experience of working with entrepreneurs to help the founders of a food business providing goods to UK high-street retailers as they sold their company. Our lawyers assisted with the commercial aspects of the sale to a private equity firm, handling complex UK remittance tax issues and US tax issues. We were also involved in our clients’ reinvestment in a new holding company.
An Italian wine producer
Sometimes our litigators’ biggest successes lie in avoiding litigation. At one stage, it seemed that there was no way for an Italian winemaker we represented to avoid a costly court battle after it terminated its longstanding US importer. However, through careful strategic decisions we were able to ease its transition from working with the US partner to its own recently formed affiliate without seeing the inside of a court room.
A household name UK supermarket
With much of our history focused on acting for successful individuals, families and entrepreneurs, we are not afraid to go up against large financial institutions. In one complex case, we acted against one of the largest UK banks in a dispute relating to a loan for the development of a household name supermarket, and the use of an interest rate swap to ‘hedge’ the loan.
Italian company Newlat specialises in distribution for the agro-food sector, offering a large point of sale network across Italy and further abroad. Withers offered advice to Netlat to assist during their acquisition of a manufacturing plant in Ozzano Taro, Italy from Heinz.
Exploring stories of success with the Financial Times
Defining moments see leading founders and CEOs share the events and influences that shaped their careers and turned them into leaders.
Buying into Italy
Why this unique country is attracting investors?
With a fascinating heritage and vibrant culture, Italy has always been popular with visitors. Yet the eurozone’s third biggest economy has just as much to offer global investors.
1 March 2023 | Firm news
Withers tech advises food tech company WNWN Food Labs on their investment round
14 January 2022 | Article
John Serio featured in Medtech Insight's "FDA Wants To Make Permanent COVID-19 Supply Chain Guidance To Prevent Product Shortages"
21 June 2021 | Podcast
Matteo Lunelli, CEO of Ferrari Trento and President of Fondazione Altagamma, talks family business, luxury brands and the impact of climate change
Join the club
We have lots more news and information that you'll find informative and useful. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll keep you up to date on the issues that matter to you.
Typical clients and industries include
Family businessesFrom small companies to global brands, we understand the dynamics of family businesses and what makes them special. We offer a rounded view on everything from tax to succession planning. Find Out More
Get in touch
Our website will give you a flavour of the advice we provide - if you would like to talk to us for more information, please contact our client services team who will be happy to assist.