Carlos S. Mendes

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Carlos Mendes is a member of the firm’s Institutional Real Estate Group and is the head of the firm’s Craft Breweries and Distilleries Practice Group. He primarily advises clients on the financing and development of institutional real estate and the establishment and operation of commercial breweries. He acts as lead counsel to Great Northern Way Campus Ltd., a company established by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design to oversee the revitalization of an 18-acre site on the False Creek Flats, including the relocation of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus and the establishment of a digital and creative district. Carlos is also BC counsel to a national Canadian craft brewer, and general counsel to the BC Craft Brewer’s Guild, the industry organization that represents and advocates for BC’s craft brewers. He regularly advises clients that range in size from nano breweries to macro breweries on all aspects of starting and running a commercial brewery.

Carlos works closely with his clients to ensure that they understand the legal side of their business and get exceptional value for their legal budget. Driven by a desire to be more than just an outside advisor, Carlos aims to integrate into his clients’ operations so that he can see their legal and strategic issues the same way they do – from the ground up. From starting a business and navigating regulatory approvals, to closing a transaction and resolving a dispute, Carlos recognizes the toll that legal issues can have on his clients, and his considered, ‘hands on’ approach has helped him earn the privilege of acting as a trusted advisor to his diverse client base.

Institutional Real Estate

Carlos’ real estate practice centers on institutional real estate, with a particular focus on assisting governmental and quasi-governmental institutions in the development and financing of educational and social housing facilities.  Carlos understands the complexities that his clients face as they work with public and private partners to realize their unique operational visions, and he relays this experience in the measured legal and strategic advice he provides.  He has particular experience in:

  • Multi-phase subdivisions;
  • Commercial lending;
  • Negotiating and drafting municipal charges and agreements;
  • Navigating the complex approval processes that govern institutional developers;
  • Commercial real estate acquisitions and sales;
  • Commercial real estate development; and
  • Commercial leasing.

Craft Breweries and Distilleries

Carlos acts as general counsel to a number of BC Breweries, and advises his clients in BC’s craft beer industry on a wide range of matters including:

  • Business structuring, incorporation and securing start-up capital investment;
  • Ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations of the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch and the Liquor Distribution Branch;
  • Permits and Licensing, including the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch’s Manufacturer License application process;
  • Equipment and supply procurement;
  • Distribution;
  •  Commercial leasing and tenancy matters;
  • Commercial financing;
  • Intellectual property, trademarks, and brand protection;
  • Employment agreements and employment matters;
  • Shareholder disputes;
  • Contractual review;
  • Buying and selling existing brewery businesses; and
  • Expansion.

A long-time craft beer writer, teacher, and advocate, Carlos is passionate about craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, and his thorough understanding of BC’s craft beer industry allows him to provide his clients with creative, timely, and cost-effective legal services.  He frequently comments on issues affecting BC’s craft beer industry on his blog BC Beer Law, is a regular guest instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Simon Fraser University in their respective ‘Brewery Operations’ diploma programs, has been interviewed in numerous media outlets on matters pertaining to the regulation of BC’s craft beer industry, and pens a bi-weekly article on BC’s craft beer scene for Scout Magazine. You can also find him on Twitter.


Commercial Real Estate

  • Advising Great Northern Way Campus Ltd.’s senior management team and assisting with numerous aspects of their operational mandate, including complex, multi-phase subdivisions, land dispositions, government approvals, negotiating and drafting licenses, permits and municipal charges and instruments, commercial leasing, and general corporate matters;
  • Acting as lead counsel for a chartered Canadian bank in the negotiation and drafting of leases for several of its British Columbia branches;
  • Assisting with the acquisition of the commercial component of a large, multi-use development in Vancouver’s Olympic Village;
  • Acting as lead counsel to an institutional land owner on a complex, multiphase ‘land swap’ transaction with commercial developer involving a re-zoning, a multiphase subdivision, and several secured loan transactions;
  • Assisting with the acquisition of a large, multi-use development with a significant transit component in New Westminster.

Craft Breweries and Distilleries

  • Advising on all aspects of opening a large Vancouver brewery, including managing licensing applications for a manufacturing facility and an on-site food primary restaurant;
  • Assisting with opening a mid-sized brewery in the Thompson-Okanagan region, including business structuring, incorporation, and securing start-up capital investment, intellectual property, trademarks and brand protection, permits and licensing, and lease drafting and negotiation;
  • Successfully resolving a dispute between a large Canadian brewer and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch;
  • Establishing a loan and security package for a Vancouver Island nano brewery’s ‘friends and family’ loan program;
  • Assisting with opening a mid-size Metro Vancouver brewery including business structuring, incorporation, and securing start-up capital investment, intellectual property, trademarks and brand protection, and lease drafting and negotiation; and
  • Providing ongoing advice to a major British Columbia craft brewer on a variety of licensing, permitting and regulatory issues.
  • Member, Law Society of BC
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Urban Development Institute
  • Regular Guest Lecturer, Simon Fraser University, ‘Craft Beer and Brewing Essentials’ course
  • Regular Guest Lecturer, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, ‘Brewing and Brewery Operations’ course
  • Moderator and Emcee, 1st Annual BC Craft Brewers Conference
  • Beer Judge, 2017 BC Beer Awards
  • Moderator, BC Business, The Business of Craft Beer 2016, ‘Ready to Brew (More)? Insights for Start-Ups and Brewery Expansions’ panel
  • Beer Judge, 2016 BC Beer Awards
  • Panel Expert, Barley’s Homebrewing Supplies 2016 KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations Diploma Program Scholarship Fundraiser