In Vino Veritas

Alex Verdegem is an LLS student blogger.

I recently had the privilege of attending the spring Student Organization Fair, helping to represent the Loyola Wine & Spirits Law Society (WSLS). The fair is a chance for new and prospective students to come meet current students, see the different student groups that Loyola has to offer, and, most importantly to ask questions. It was great to talk about what Wine & Spirits does and what we have to offer so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about the organization.

In Vino Veritas is an old saying that mean, “In wine there is truth.” WSLS takes that phrase literally as a way to shed light on various aspects of the law in a fun, sociable and interesting way.

WSLS was founded in 2015 by Lucas Noble and Maddie Page, so it is still a relatively young group. The overall mission of WSLS is to provide a forum for Loyola students and practicing attorneys to explore the legal realities that producers, distributors and retailers in the alcoholic beverage industry face today. Within that overarching mission, the group changes slightly from year to year, reflecting the goals and interests of the officers in charge. For example, I and my Vice President, Rebekah Hoelscher, are interested in corporate law so our events and activities this year have largely focused on the business issues that producers and regulators face. In the past, we have hosted events focus on a wide range of topics from environmental law to criminal justice.

WSLS has been an amazing opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people, including Matthew Botting, General Counsel for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Teo Hunter and Beny Ashburn, founders of Crowns & Hops Brewing Co., one of the few black-owned breweries in Los Angeles. I’ve learned all about California’s regulatory system and how that system has changed due to the pandemic. During our event with Teo and Beny, we confronted some hard truths about how race and privilege, still create inequity in the brewing industry. We also talked about some possible approaches to combat those issues.

WSLS has been an amazing experience for me. I’m confident that our leaders next year and years into the future will continue to bring fun, interesting and insightful events to Loyola and provide opportunities for students to come together over a common interest in the alcoholic beverage industry at speaker events, happy hours and tastings.

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