Bars and restaurants face new rules for to-go drinks

Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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Iowa (KCRG) -The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released clarified guidelines for how bars and restaurants can sell drinks to-go.

The new rules prohibit bars or restaurants from selling alcohol in paper or Styrofoam cups, or plastic cups that are intended for one-time use. Containers also can’t have a hole for a straw or for sipping.

When Iowa legalized alcohol to-go sales in June, Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery immediately started bottling up their signature drinks. Their method of keeping to-go drinks sealed is vacuum sealing them. Bar manager Cassandra Pantel says “To go drinks and our whole retail area was very important for us. It really helped us keep going, it helped keep staff employed.”

The new rules also make it easier to tell if a customer has an open container in their car.

Tom Daubs, with the Marion Police Department, says both sellers and customers are responsible for keeping the seal intact. “With the sealed beverages and to-go beverages, as a police department we’re looking at the 3 E’s. We want to encourage, educate, and if we have to, we’ll enforce,” says Daubs.

Cedar Ridge owner Jeff Quint says officials have been good about communicating and working with businesses about changing rules.

The Alcoholic Beverage Division says drivers with an open container of alcohol can be fined $200, and bars or restaurants not selling sealed drinks can face civil penalties or have their license revoked.

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