Liquor Licensing Attorney & Policy

Sean O’Leary, the Irish Liquor Lawyer, is a leader in the liquor industry and recognized as an authoritative source on liquor regulatory issues.

The most cited member by the media on liquor issues, Mr. O’Leary is a contributor to the Wine Spectator, Forbes, and Wine Searcher. He is a trusted source on issues such as trade practices and constitutional liquor issues, and is a nationally recognized speaker and writer on these issues.

He was recognized in 2022 for his legal accomplishment by the Irish Legal 100, a group that honors the top Irish attorneys in the legal field.

Mr. O’Leary is trusted source by clients and provides a diverse array of services. Mr. O’Leary was previously the Chief Legal Counsel of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, where he helped drafted regulations, statutes, and policies.

In private practice he has become a trusted source for businesses in the direct to consumer (DTC) shipping industry. He authored three U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs on DTC legal issue and numerous other amicus briefs at Federal Circuit Court and State Supreme Court levels.

Mr. O’Leary not only has developed DTC shipping models, he has successfully defended DTC models in front of state regulatory agencies and prevailed in court decisions challenging a client’s DTC shipping model.

Additionally, Mr. O’Leary is also active on the advocacy and policy side and in 2020 successfully advocated for and drafted legislation that legalized cocktails-to-go in Illinois.

Mr. O’Leary represents clients in all three-tiers of the liquor industry and helps them navigate through the liquor licensing and regulatory process.
He is admitted to practice in the state of Illinois and Indiana and before the United States Supreme Court, the 4th Circuit, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Illinois Supreme Court.

Mr. O’Leary is admitted to: Practice in Illinois and Indiana
Court Admissions: 
United States Supreme Court 
U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 4th and Federal Circuits 
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois 
Illinois Supreme Court 

Legal and Regulatory

1. Direct-to-consumer focused
Protecting clients’ direct to consumer business has become a passion for Mr. O’Leary. He successfully defended numerous business  models before state agencies, and works with companies to help them develop direct to consumer business models to conform with state regulatory regimes and succeed in the marketplace. 
2. Representing licensees in all three-tiers 
Mr. O’Leary also has saved several businesses whose licenses were subject to legal investigation by state agencies. Representing 
businesses  in all three-tiers, Mr. O’Leary focuses his practice on serving his client’s needs. 
Areas Of Law


Ask Sean!

About The Irish Liquor Lawyer, Sean O’Leary

Sean O’Leary, the Irish Liquor Lawyer, represents innovators in the liquor industry, lobbies on behalf of the wine and hospitality community,
and is actively involved in helping companies develop business models to meet complex regulatory schemes.

Mr. O’Leary played an important role in setting the direction and policy of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. He acted as the policy liaison for the governor’s office and drafted regulations and statutes.

More About Sean O’Leary

Bringing simple solutions to difficult problems in heavily regulated industries.

Sean O’Leary

The Irish Liquor Lawyer – Sean O’Leary

Sean’s knowledge of the law and process was superb.  He communicated with me every step of the way and guided me to make informed decisions.  The end result was very satisfactory

Sean navigated us through a very difficult legal process, and in doing so allowed us to expand our business and increase our revenue. Liquor laws are often times difficult to understand and that is why Sean is a valuable resource. Additionally, his national network of connections gets you to the right decision makers and gets things done.

We are pleased with the results and happy that we engaged him.

John G. Wilson, Jr, General Counsel, Winestyr

There are not a lot of blogs or publications that speak authoritatively on the legal aspects of the alcohol industry. It’s a complicated subject that is rife with ideological, partisan and self-serving perspectives. O’Leary is threading the needle here nicely and is a very welcome addition to the sources the industry can use to educate themselves on the state of alcohol law. Irish Liquor Lawyer is highly recommended.

Tom Wark, Fermentation Wine Blog

Lobbying and Advocating

Mr. O’Leary acted as policy and legal advisor for Cocktails-For-Hope, in six weeks he helped start a grassroots effort that successfully lobbied the Illinois legislature to enact a major law change to allow retailers greater privileges.  He drafted legislation and  coordinated grass roots support for the movement.

Further, Mr. O’Leary lobbies on behalf of expanding and opening up the liquor industry to innovation. He has represented wine retailers  that want to enhance direct to consumer opportunities.

Photo courtesy of FOX32

Photo courtesy of Joyride Brewing

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Bringing simple solutions to difficult problems in heavily regulated industries.

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