Lawyer Exits Practice, But Uses Legal Know-How in New Gig: Opening Craft Beer Brewery

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Michael Peticolas concluded his law practice last year so he could pursue a long-held dream of brewing craft beer to sell to bars.

But the Texas attorney soon discovered that the law would continue to be an important and regular part of his work routine as he sought permission to open the Peticolas Brewing Co. in a 4,200-square-foot Dallas warehouse, reports the Daily Business Review.

Exploring a labyrinth of city, state and federal law, he concluded he would have to seek a zoning change from the Dallas City Council to pursue the business there–and succeeded. Later this month, he expects to be actually manufacturing and selling his new brews.

However, under state law the beer legally can’t be labeled as he wishes, Peticolas tells the legal publication. A 4-percent alcohol content by weight is required to call the product ale or malt liquor; with less than that, it’s beer.

Connoisseurs determine ale by taste, he says, based on its ingredients, so it’s a shame to have to call a pale ale beer. But legally he has no choice. “The beer fan is totally confused. It has a lot of consumer confusion,” he says. “And it’s frustrating as a brewer.”

A City of Ate post in the Dallas Observer earlier this year provides additional details. However, the law firm it notes that Peticolas was still, at that point, keeping open, just in case, is now the site of his corporate offices.

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