Stephen G. Amato

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation

Over the last several years, my administrative law practice has evolved to the point where we have the privilege to represent many participants in the alcoholic beverage industry across the state of Kentucky primarily representing the interests of alcoholic beverage suppliers, retailers and distributors in connection with licensing, enforcement and policy issues at both the state and local levels including representation in front of the various local ABC agencies, the Kentucky ABC and the TTB in Washington, D. C.  We have developed extensive experience and knowledge into the law and public policy regarding alcoholic beverages, hotels, arenas, convention facilities, restaurants, food trucks and more.

The types of clients we represent span the spectrum of the beverage alcohol industry, including manufacturers, importers, brokers, wholesalers, shippers, warehouses, suppliers, and common carriers. Also, I represent on- and off-premises retail alcohol licenses such as hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, stadiums, live entertainment venues, non-profit civic and charitable organizations, liquor stores, grocery stores, drug stores, caterers, and event facilities.

If you are contemplating opening a business in the hospitality industry, specifically selling or producing alcoholic beverages, you will need legal assistance from the onset. The manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages is a highly regulated activity.

Member, McBrayer
Phone: 859-231-8780, ext. 104
Fax: 859-231-1175



I am a native Kentuckian, born and raised in Louisville, with more than 20 years of direct governmental and political experience in the Commonwealth.  I joined MML&K Government Solutions in 1999, spending the last 16 years as a veteran lobbyist and strategic communications consultant for dozens of corporations and associations.  Although I represent a broad array of issues and clients, I specialize in alcohol laws and regulations on behalf of our state’s signature Bourbon distilleries, along with equine and horse racing with our signature thoroughbred industry, all aspects of state-based insurance regulation, telecommunications and state budget appropriations.  However, in this consulting role, I am a jack of all trades helping our clients navigate the complex world of Kentucky government and politics. 

Like others on our MML&K team, I pride myself on my ability to navigate Kentucky’s executive and legislative branches of government.  During our intense 30-day and 60-day sessions of the General Assembly, I take pride in knowing the personalities, process and the politics of our elected officials and the staff. Our team is always the first at the Capitol each morning, and among the last to leave each day; if the legislature is meeting, I am always there representing our clients.

Assistant Director, MML&K Government Solutions
Phone: 502-875-1176
Fax: 502-226-6234



I specialize my legal practice in the areas of business law, entrepreneurial business, mergers and acquisitions, contracts, and lending and commercial services. My clients participate in many different industries, including the restaurant and hospitality industries. I have gained vast experience with a wide variety of transactional and business matters, including negotiating and closing sales and purchases of businesses and business assets, capital raising through commercial and private sources, and negotiating and drafting a range of transactional, financial and operating contracts.

I enjoy corporate law for several reasons.  It allows me to work with entrepreneurs who have a passion for what they are doing, whether that is starting new businesses, selling a successful company, or the hard work that comes in between.  Most of the time people do not realize they need a corporate lawyer when they are starting their company or when they are negotiating leases or even when simply negotiating a loan from the bank.  Each of these and many other situations benefit from the involvement of corporate counsel from the onset.  That involvement will ultimately help the business grow faster and negate certain issues that could arise at a later date.

Member, McBrayer
Phone: 859-231-8780, ext. 211
Fax: 859-253-0706

Jack A. Wheat

Intellectual Property

For over 30 years, I have concentrated my practice in the area of intellectual property, primarily dealing with patent, trademark, and copyright infringement litigation, and services such as trademark and copyright registration.

A trademark is used to distinguish a business and its products or services from all others, so it’s important to protect that identity whenever possible.  I can advise clients on protected marks and then assist in the registration of those marks at the state, federal and international levels. These marks are particularly important in the hospitality industry, as alcoholic beverage producers work hard to distinguish their business and brand in Kentucky’s burgeoning craft industry.

I also handle trademark infringement litigation, and my clients range from trailblazing start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, all of which benefit from my unique, business-focused approach to developing litigation strategies tailored to each client's definition of success. I invest the time and resources to developing a value-driven relationship with my clients that produce better results, reduce costs, drive increased productivity, and improve the quality of legal services provided. It is this business sense, combined with my ability to handle the complicated technical issues that are often intertwined with IP disputes, which separates my legal experience from my competitors.

Member, McBrayer
Phone: 502-327-5400, ext. 308
Fax: 502-327-5444

Masten CHilders, III

Small Business Services

Small businesses face unique challenges today and the McBrayer team is wholly committed to helping our clients achieve their business goals.  It is my personal nature to develop long-term relationships with my clients. I will always take the time to look at both the business and the industry from our client’s perspective to establish goals and deal with issues that arise along the way. Exceptional client service and personal attention make the difference and I guarantee to always take a proactive approach in addressing the needs of our clients’ businesses.

As a prior small business owner, I understand first-hand the unique needs a small business needs in order to succeed. I operated and owned Belle’s Bakery for 10 years which was a bakery, deli and catering company located in the heart of Lexington’s Chevy Chase area. I am able to take the knowledge that I learned as a small business owner and bring that experience to bear when assisting my clients. The bakery not only taught me how to deal with customers, vendors, employees and the day-to-day operations that not every small business owner has time and resources to handle, but it taught me how it takes a delicate balance of hard work and know how to make your business successful – and I help provide support for that balance.

Associate, McBrayer
Phone: 859-231-8780, ext. 161
Fax: 859-231-6518



I practice within the firm’s real estate department where I focus specifically in the area of planning and zoning law handling a wide variety of land use matters for clients in the private sector. My responsibilities include attending Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment hearings and working with developers, business owners, and government agencies on land use applications and development proposals.

Land use law is very interesting as it is one of few areas in the law where you can actually see tangible results. I work with clients who want to build things, start businesses, and shape the face of their community and state. I help our clients navigate a potentially confusing and difficult government process to get appropriate approvals and together we build something. I work with clients from ideation to fruition, helping make sure projects stay on track.

Land use planning is particularly important in the hospitality industry, whether it’s an upcoming distillery or brewery that needs site selection assistance or is considering adaptive reuse to a new restaurant or catering service that needs assistance with a zoning variance – the location where our hospitality clients operate and fulfill their goals is as important as the formation of their business or their alcohol licensing. I enjoy making sure my clients essentially find a home for the conduct of their hospitality business and are comfortable there in a legal sense.

Associate, McBrayer
Phone: 859-231-8780, ext. 102
Fax: 859-281-1552

For legal questions, contact McBrayer at:

For public policy questions or solutions, contact MML&K Government solutions at: