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Renowned Beverage Alcohol Attorney Vince O’Brien Dies At 78

June 5, 2015

Edward Vincent “Vince” O’Brien passed away suddenly on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, after attending and speaking at an industry conference held to help start-up beer, wine, and spirits brands. He was 78. O’Brien had extensive experience in beverage alcohol law, a category to which he had dedicated his entire career, and for which he made many lasting international strides. He joined the law firm of White & Case out of law school, and was assigned to its Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., account on his very first day. Five years later, he became general counsel at Seagram, and was later elevated to executive vice president while maintaining his roles as general counsel and director. O’Brien later joined forces with Abe Buchman in creating the beverage alcohol boutique firm of Buchman & O’Brien. In 2004, following the retirement of Mr. Buchman, O’Brien joined the New York office of international law firm Nixon Peabody, where he established the firm’s Beverage Alcohol Group.

O’Brien was a frequent lecturer and speaker on beverage alcohol issues at international symposia and conferences, and his engagements included four published presentations at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) global symposia concerning appellations of origin. He was the senior member of the U.S. delegation to the International Federation of Wines & Spirits and an advisor to the Laws & Regulations Working Group of the International Wine Office. He was a founding member of the International Wine Law Association and author of a chapter on Beverage Alcohol Law Practice for West’s Guide to New York Practice. O’Brien is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Linda, his sister Adrienne, his children Ned, Beth, and David, as well as his son-in-law Steve Schiller, and grandchildren Christopher and Samantha.

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