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Jesse D. Lyon

Chair, Food + Beverage and Agriculture Practice; Chair, Portland Corporate and Business Transactions Practice
Jess Lyon serves as general counsel to food and beverage companies, from startups and leading emerging companies to middle market family-owned businesses and established global brands. He advises clients on a daily basis about practical transactions involving ingredient sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain relationships, wholesale and consumer products branding and distribution models, and regulatory and policy strategies. In addition, Jess structures and negotiates business mergers, acquisitions, and sales, as well as joint ventures and other strategic agreements for intellectual property licensing, production, distribution, and marketing. Jess is particularly experienced with advising alcohol beverage industry companies and investors, including with regard to multi-state tied-house laws.

Prior to launching his legal practice, Jess earned advanced degrees in agricultural economics. He represents a diverse array of “new school” food and agricultural companies throughout the West Coast. Jess advises clients in transactions involving crop production, manufacturing, and supply chain relationships, including PACA-regulated transactions and state agricultural liens. Jess structures and negotiates agreements for sustainable farm operations, as well as joint ventures and other strategic transactions related to the development and commercialization of new plant varieties and other intellectual property.

Representative Experience

Recent Representative Experience

Abeja Inn & Winery

Represented Abeja LLC in the sale of a majority interest in the Abeja Inn and Abeja Winery in Walla Walla, Washington.

Alambic Inc.

Represented California brandy producer Alambic Inc. in its sale of the Germain-Robin brandy business to E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Agriculture Capital Management

Represented ACM in the acquisition of California-based table grape grower, Columbine Vineyards.

Banfi Wines

Represented Banfi Wines in their sale of 50% of Excelsior Wine Company to Viña Concha y Toro.

Beaux Freres LLC

Represented Beaux Freres LLC and shareholders in majority stake sale to Maisons & Domaines Henriot.

Castanea Partners

Served as co-counsel representing Castanea Partners in majority-stake investment in The Bruery.

Chehalem Winery

Represented Chehalem Winery in succession transaction among founding partners.

Craft Brew Alliance Inc.

Represented Craft Brew Alliance in the acquisition of Appalachian Mountain Brewery.

Craft Brew Alliance Inc.

Represented Craft Brew Alliance in the acquisition of Cisco Brewers, based in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.

Represented Craft Brew Alliance in the acquisition of Wynwood Brewing Company, based in Miami, Florida.


Representing Fever-Tree, an international non-alcoholic beverage company, in U.S. distribution and regulatory matters.

Firestone Pacific Foods

General counsel, including in supply chain and strategic matters.

Freeland Spirits

Representing Freeland Spirits in its launch, development, and corporate matters.

Full Sail Brewing

Representing Full Sail Brewing in the development and nationwide launch of their KYLA Kombucha, a hard kombucha brand.

Full Sail Brewing Company

Developed updated model for distribution and facilitated realignment of distribution partnerships. Ongoing distribution and trade practice advice.

King Estate Winery

Represented Oregon’s King Estate Winery in its sale of the Acrobat brand to Foley Family Wines.

Melvin Brewing

Developed updated model for distribution agreements and tailored approach to launch distribution in 5 new states. Ongoing distribution and trade practice advice.

Old Town Brewing

Represented Old Town Brewing in negotiation and strategy with the city of Portland concerning Old Town Brewing’s leaping stag trademark and the city’s iconic “Portland Oregon” sign.

One Pearl Inc.

Represented One Pearl Inc. in acquisition of Nova Wines, the licensee of Marilyn Monroe wine brand.

Pacific Rim Winemakers

Represented Pacific Rim Winemakers in its purchase of the Flynn Winery assets and its strategic winemaking arrangement with Vintage Wine Estates as the acquirer of the Firesteed Cellars business.

PhD Fitness, LLC dba JYM Supplement Science

Represented PhD Fitness LLC in resolving trademark litigation and reaching going-forward supply and marketing agreements for JYM brand. Continuing to serve as general counsel, including in licensing and supply chain transactions.

Rogue Creamery

Represented artisanal cheese maker, Rogue Creamery, in its strategic partnership with Savencia Fromage & Dairy.

Sapporo Holdings

Beverage industry counsel to Sapporo Holdings Ltd. in the $85 million acquisition of Anchor Brewing Company.

SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel LLC

Represented SeQuential-Pacific Biodiesel in its sale to Crimson Renewable Energy L.P. (2018)

Short's Brewing Company

Represented Michigan-based Shorts Brewing Company in the sale of a 20% equity stake to Lagunitas Brewing Company.

TSG Consumer Partners

Served as beverage industry legal advisor to TSG Consumer Partners in purchase of 22% ownership in Scottish craft beer maker BrewDog.

TSG Consumer Partners

Beverage industry counsel to TSG Consumer Partners in their purchase of the Duckhorn Wine Company family of winery and vineyard enterprises.

Voodoo Doughnut Strategic Partnership

Represented Voodoo Doughnut in investment and strategic partnership transaction with San Francisco-based Fundamental Capital.

Wilson Daniels Wholesale

Represented Wilson Daniels Wholesale in the acquisition of Galaxy Wine Company.

West Coast Coffee Company Inc.

Represented West Coast Coffee Company Inc. in the sale of the company to Farmer Bros. Co. for $13.5 million.

Other Representative Experience

Agriculture Capital Management

Represented ACM in the acquisition of Suntreat, TreeSource, and Griffith Farms assets.

Agriculture Capital Management

Represented ACM in the acquisition and development of Silver Mountain Packing operations and various associated Oregon blueberry farms.

Agriculture Capital Management

Assisted buyer in connection with the acquisition of citrus and nut orchards, wine grape vineyards, berry farms, other perennial agriculture, and packaging facilities in California and in Oregon.

Agriculture Capital Management

General counsel, including in supply chain and strategic matters.

Abita Brewing Company

Represented founders as beverage counsel in sale transaction with Enjoy Beer LLC.

Betz Family Cellars

On behalf of Steve and Bridgit Griessel negotiated their acquisition of Betz Family Cellars.

Black Family Vineyard (dba Four Graces Winery)

Provided strategic advice to founders and managed transaction for the sale of winery and vineyard business assets to Foley Family Wines.

Brazi Bites

Representing Brazi Bites, an Oregon-based snack food company, in strategic alliance for manufacturing and distribution solutions.

Captive Spirits Distilling

Represented Captive Spirits Distilling in strategic partnership of Seattle, Washington’s Captive Sprits Distilling and Hood River, Oregon’s Hood River Distillers. The combination of these two family-owned Pacific Northwest distilleries will enable Captive Spirits to expand their growth and support of Big Gin in markets in the U.S. and beyond.

Clear Creek Distillery

State and federal regulatory matters, liquor licensing/permitting, and fire safety for its new urban distillery location.

Dave’s Killer Bread

Provided advice in growth phase to provide North America ingredient sourcing, contract baking and distribution counseling, including agreement structuring, strategy, and negotiations. Represented client in a large investment from the Goode Partners private equity firm and a large infusion of term debt from BMO. Ongoing work as general counsel in support of rapid growth, including nationwide manufacturing and distribution initiatives. Represented AVB, Inc. (d/b/a Dave’s Killer Bread) and its shareholders in a 100 percent stock sale to Flowers Foods, Inc.

Dog Tag Brewing Company

Advising as beverage industry legal advisor and general counsel.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Represented affiliate of LNK Partners as beverage counsel in investment transaction with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

Full Sail Brewing Company

Distribution counsel and trade practice advice.

Glendalough Irish Whiskey

Represented Glendalough Irish Whiskey with negotiation and realignment of its U.S. master importer relationships.

Hawks View Cellars

Represented family-owned Hawks View Cellars in their sale to Ponte Family Estate.

Hop Kiln Estate Winery

Represented Hop Kiln Estate Winery in sale of vineyard and winery business assets to Landmark Vineyards.

Hopworks Urban Brewery

Represented Hopworks Urban Brewery in strategic alliance with Patagonia Provisions for the production of Long Root Ale.

J. Frank Schmidt & Sons

Represented J. Frank Schmidt & Sons, one of the country's leading suppliers ornamental trees and related plant variety intellectual property, in multiple international licensing deals.

King Estate Winery

General counsel and strategic transactions.

Klipsun Vineyard

Represented Klipsun Vineyards in sale to Terlato Wines International.

Laurelwood Brewing Company

Serving as general counsel and in the development and implementation of various growth strategies, including contract brewing arrangements.

Maletis Beverage

Corporate and transaction matters.

Oregon Winegrowers Association

General counsel for all advocacy and legislative matters.

Multiple rural ranch and farmland owners

Represented multiple rural ranch and farmland owners in wind power leasing agreements and related development transactions.

Olsen Agricultural Enterprises

Assisted family farming enterprise with sale of farming operations in Willamette Valley of Oregon, including owned and leased real estate, water rights, equipment, intellectual property, and growing crops.

Oregon Rangeland Trust

Outside general counsel. Negotiate agricultural conservation easements with farm and ranch owners.

Pabst Brewing Company

Distribution and trade practice.

Pabst Brewing Company

Represented Pabst Brewing Company in exclusive long-term strategic transaction with C&C Group, PLC (dba Vermont Hard Cider Co. and associated brands).

Pabst Brewing Company

Represented Pabst Brewing Company in strategic alliance with New Holland Brewing.

Pacific Rim Winemakers

Lead negotiations in sale of Pacific Rim Winemakers to the Mariani family, owners of Banfi Vintners.

Potato Variety Management Institute

Negotiated master license agreements and global and domestic sublicensing and marketing agreements for potato varieties developed by researchers at the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Sagemoor Group

Negotiated sale of the assets of Sagemoor Vineyards and affiliated orchards to Allan Bros Inc.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Acquisition of Dundee, Ore.-based Erath Vineyards Winery.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Managed due diligence investigation and transaction for the acquisition of vineyard assets associated with the Willakia Vineyard.

SweetWater Brewing Company

Served as beverage industry legal advisor for investment by TSG Consumer Partners. Developed updated model for distribution agreements and tailored approach to launch distribution in 16 new states. Ongoing distribution and trade practice advice.

Victory Brewing Company

Represented Victory Brewing Company and its majority shareholders in a sale, recapitalization, and investment by Artisanal Brewing Ventures.

VMG Partners

Represented VMG Partners as beverage counsel in their minority investment transaction in Stone Brewing Company.

Walla Walla Vintners

Represented Opal West Wines in investment of Walla Walla Vintners.

Willamette Valley Vineyards

Serving as outside general counsel general counsel to Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Founder and Host, Farm to Label, Davis Wright Tremaine event, 2013-2016
  • Board of Directors, Zenger Farm
  • General Counsel, Oregon Winegrowers Association
  • Advisory Committee, School of Hospitality Business Management, Washington State University
  • National Board of Advisors, College of Business, Washington State University
  • Steering Committee, Northwest Agribusiness Executive Seminar
  • Past President, Agricultural Law Section, Oregon State Bar

Professional Recognition

  • Named as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Food & Beverages: Alcohol (Nationwide) by Chambers USA, 2010-2018; Corporate/M&A (Oregon), 2011-2014, 2018 
  • Selected to "Oregon Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2012-2018
  • “Industry Partner Award,” Oregon Wine Industry, 2006
  • Named as one of the "Forty Under 40," Portland Business Journal, 2004
"Jesse is practical and responsive, as well as thoughtful, creative, and knowledgeable." -Client Quote, Chambers USA 2018
Hear Jess Lyon on KXL's Business Briefing