Derek J. Allen

Alcoholic Beverage and Land Use Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
828.348.6012 Fax 828.348.6077
Post Office Box 2020, Asheville, NC 28802-2020

Derek leads the Alcoholic Beverage Law, Real Estate Development, and Zoning and Land Use practices.  He has extensive experience with craft breweries ranging in size from small startups to those with national distribution. His practice includes representation of craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries in a wide range of permitting, regulatory, and trade issues.  

Additionally, Derek has experience in all aspects of civil litigation, including depositions, hearings, mediations, arbitrations, jury trials, and appeals. He advises clients and litigates cases involving all forms of commercial, business, development, and real property disputes in state and federal courts.  He has litigated numerous matters concerning land use issues at the trial and appellate levels.  Derek also has experience litigating corporate and partnership disputes before the North Carolina Business Court.  He routinely appears in front of city and county governmental bodies.

Derek also works with other regulated industries, including the hemp and CBD markets, both in North Carolina and beyond. He regularly partners with hemp farmers, processors, extractors, product manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to address their unique legal needs. Derek also assists indirect industry participants, including brokers, consultants, marketing agencies, lenders and financial institutions, and other suppliers and vendors in this quickly changing market space.



  • J.D., The University of North Carolina School of Law, 1997
  • B.A., Political Science and History, magna cum laude, with distinction, The University of North Carolina Asheville, 1993. Tennis Scholarship.

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2010-2011, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2010-2019
  • "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers , 2015
  • The Business Journal of the Triad, 40 Leaders Under Forty Award
  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, 2007-2008, 2010-2013
  • "Rising Star," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2009-2011


Best Lawyers Logo     Super Lawyers Logo

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Asheville Alumnus, Class XXIX)
  • Asheville Brewers Alliance (board member)
  • Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission (board member 2012-2018)
  • Brewers Association Associate Member
  • Community Associations Institute
  • Diana Wortham Theatre (president 2019, member, board of directors)
  • LEAF (president 2018-2019, member, board of directors)
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Committee: Arts, Entertainment & Sports Law Committee (past chair)
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Litigation; Zoning, Planning and Land Use (former council member)
  • North Carolina Craft Museum (board member)
  • North Carolina Creditors Bar Association
  • North Carolina Economic Developers Association
  • The University of North Carolina at Asheville Foundation Board (member, executive committee)
  • United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County (member, board of directors)
  • Western North Carolina Green Building Council (board member)

Admitted to Practice

North Carolina, 1997 
All state courts in North Carolina 
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States District Court for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions:;; and

An attorney‑client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement. The content of any unsolicited email sent to Ward and Smith, P.A., or to any of its attorneys at an email address available on this website, will not create an attorney‑client relationship and the contents of such unsolicited email shall not be considered confidential. Therefore, do not use this website or the email addresses available on this website to provide confidential information about yourself or a legal matter to Ward and Smith or any of its attorneys.