In 2022 one thing most Iowa restaurants and bars agree is that the state’s alcohol distribution law is horribly outdated, and it's something that the Iowa Restaurant Association changes this year.

Iowa's liquor distribution law dates back to prohibition

One reason so many Iowa restaurants want to see the current distribution laws change is the age of the law. According to a KCCI report, the law dates back to 1933, the very year prohibition was finally lifted in the United States, and Americans could legally purchase alcohol once again. So what is the current distribution law that has the Iowa Restaurant Association frustrated?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
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Many feel the distribution law is too restrictive

Currently, Iowa restaurants are only allowed to buy beer from distributors. That means if they run out and want to restock, they cannot purchase any brewskis at an area retail store. This means the restaurant owner/operator is not allowed to shop around for the best deal. However, liquor (think whisky, vodka, etc.) must be purchased from retail locations and cannot be distributed directly to restaurants. Yes, that's the opposite of what a restaurant deals with for beer purchases.

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The state's three-tier system, which separates wine, liquor, and beer, does not apply to other liquor sellers such as grocery stores, gas stations, or pharmacies.

While Restaurateurs and bar owners don't want to be hampered by the outdated law, they also explain there's a silver lining to having more purchase options at their disposal. KCRG reports a change in the law would allow the restaurant to get a better deal, which they could then pass on to their customers. They'd also be able to shop local and possibly bypass some of the supply chain issues hampering many businesses.

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