Wright Johnston and Mackenzie Solicitors

Meet the drink law team

Colin Millar

Partner and Head of Drinks Industry, Glasgow

Colin is the Head of the Corporate Group at WJM and has over 30 years’ experience in corporate and commercial law covering both transactional/M&A and non-transactional work. He has advised both established and new whisky distillers on the development, acquisition and/or sale of distilleries and has a detailed understanding of the underlying regulation of labelling and advertising of alcohol beverage products. Colin is based in the Glasgow office but has clients throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond. His expertise includes:

  • Advising on the acquisition and sale of whisky distilleries;
  • Advising on product development including branding and compliance aspects;
  • Advising on the naming and labelling of products generally and compliance with specific regulations;
  • Compliance and regulatory issues including in respect of the Advertising Standards Authority, The Scotch Whisky Association and Portman Code requirements;
  • Whisky, spirit and other product purchase, supply and exchange contracts;
  • Distribution arrangements including significant experience in relation to distribution agreements in the Scotch whisky market.

 

Angus MacLeod

Partner and Head of Inverness Office

Angus is a corporate lawyer with particular expertise in IP and commercial contracts and experience across a wide range of corporate, commercial and partnership law. As Head of WJM’s Inverness office, he leads the firm’s practice in the Highlands, Islands and Moray, and lives and works in Inverness.

He has been ranked No 1 in Scotland for franchising advice for over a decade by Chambers’ Guide to the Legal Profession, which has described him as “an authoritative, calm and practical lawyer” with “in-depth knowledge” who comes “well-briefed” and applies a “common-sense approach”.

Highlight work in the sector:

  • Lead advisor for a major independent bottler of Scotch whisky for over 20 years
  • £30M+ aged stock asset sale, Scotch whisky
  • Negotiating international agency and distribution arrangements in multiple jurisdictions
  • Complex trade mark licensing agreements, including for new-start distillery brand
  • Brand ambassador arrangements for a Speyside distillery

 

Ken Long

Partner, Edinburgh

Ken has extensive experience funding new whisky distilleries:

  • Project management of the legal process of raising funds: 
  • Offered advice in relation to
    • Regulatory compliance in the fund raising process
    • Finalising conditional subscription letters from investors
    • Share Subscription Agreements for investments
    • Articles of Association for investors
    • Consultancy agreements and service agreement for the management team
    • Advising on still supply agreement
  • Other work WJM supplied: 
    • Preparation of lease of distillery
    • Letters of appointment for the professional team on development / build
    • Advice on building contract

 

Martin O’Neill

Partner, Glasgow

Martin has advised numerous food and drink suppliers involving a diverse range of commercial agreements relating to:

  • Manufacture and production of products
  • Supply and distribution agreements
  • Licensing and protection of intellectual property rights
  • Branding and marketing
  • Dispute resolution
  • Investment and shareholders agreements
  • Buying and selling companies

 

Kirstin MacDonald

Associate, Inverness

Kirstin is an experienced corporate lawyer, advising businesses across the Highlands, Islands and Moray.

Her experience in this sector includes:

  • Advisor for a major independent bottler of Scotch whisky
  • Drafting and negotiating agency and distribution agreements across multiple jurisdictions
  • Providing trade mark licencing advice