Robert L. “Rob” Lewis is a Partner in the Miami office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he is the Co-Chair of the Alcohol & Regulated Industries Practice Group.

Rob focuses his practice on the laws governing alcohol industry members – including the three tiers of producers or importers, distributors and retailers - as well as tobacco and other regulated products. With more than 30 years of experience, his practice includes multi-discipline areas of legal needs common to hospitality, alcohol and tobacco industry clients.

Rob has extensive experience working with foreign and domestic manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retail industry clients on a wide range of issues. He regularly assists clients with matters related to alcohol licensing and the structuring of alcohol service operations. He is particularly adept at negotiating purchase agreements and management agreements, as well as handling complex license transfers and performing in-depth alcohol licensing due diligence reviews.

Additionally, Rob is intimately familiar with alcohol product advertising issues as well as the intricacies of marketing agreements, importation and distribution agreements, new product development processes, and the approval process for alcoholic beverage formulas and labels. He is also frequently called upon to provide regulatory compliance guidance, defend regulatory enforcement actions and navigate alcohol industry members through investigations initiated by state and federal officials.

Other areas of Rob’s practice include representing clients with administrative litigation proceedings, land use and zoning analyses and approvals, as well as state and local government initiatives.  Rob has assisted in drafting new legislation as well as legislative amendments relating to the alcohol and hospitality industries.

As a former law enforcement 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. He has also served as a witness on matters relating to alcohol beverage law and administrative code provisions in Florida.

He also has experience assisting clients with business permitting and transfers of business licenses as a results of new business ventures and expansions. He has worked as special regulatory counsel to mergers and acquisitions between hospitality and alcohol industry clients, on matters including contractual negotiations, regulatory compliance guidance, alcohol and food licensing, obtaining business tax receipts and business permits, building permits, 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 theaters companies, entertainment complexes and establishments, and other members of the hospitality and alcohol industry.

Credentials

Education

  • University of Miami School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, May 1997

Bar Admissions

  • Florida

Languages

  • Spanish

Professional and Civic

  • National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), Member
  • National Association of Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Attorneys (NAABLA), Member
  • National Association of Licensing & Compliance Professionals (NALCP), Member
  • National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA), Member
  • The Florida Bar, Administrative Law Section, Member
  • The Florida Bar, City, County, and Local Government, Member
  • Adjunct Professor, St. Thomas University School of Law, 2006-2008

News & Insights

News & Speaking Engagements

Accolades

  • Food & Beverages: Alcohol, Chambers & Partners, USA, 2014-2023
  • Food & Beverage Law, Best Lawyers in America, 2015-2023
  • Rated AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell, 2019-2023
  • Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2012-2023
  • Outstanding Performance and Contribution to the South Florida Legal Community, South Florida Legal Guide, 2020
  • Florida Trailblazer, Daily Business Review, 2019
  • Most Effective Lawyers: Government Relations/Regulatory, Daily Business Review, 2018
  • Top Up and Comer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2007-2010, 2012

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Shutts & Bowen, established in 1910, is a full-service business law firm with approximately 270 lawyers located in eight offices across Florida.

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