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Bill that would allow more alcohol deliveries now awaiting Reynolds’ signature

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 11:23 PM CDT
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SWISHER, Iowa (KCRG) - People in Iowa could soon have more options for getting alcohol delivered to their doorsteps.

House File 766 has passed both chambers of the Iowa Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Kim Reynolds. If signed, it would go into effect July 1.

The bill allows businesses that hold liquor licenses and permits to enter agreements with third parties to deliver liquor, wine, or beer.

For Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery in Swisher, that means being able to ship spirits around the state, something Director of Hospitality Ashton Johnson said they currently cannot do, though Cedar Ridge is able to ship its wines.

“One of the top five questions we get here on site is, ‘Can I have this shipped to me?’ And the answer we hate to give is, unfortunately, we can’t,” she said.

Johnson said staff at Cedar Ridge have been watching the progress of this bill, hoping it could let them open up sales of their spirits, such as whiskeys and bourbons, to more Iowans.

“I think any distillery within the state of Iowa has definitely been paying attention to this,” she said.

The bill would also allow people to order alcoholic beverages, including to-go mixed drinks, from restaurants and bars through delivery companies like Grubhub and Uber Eats.

While Iowa restaurants were first permitted to sell carryout cocktails in 2020 as a way to boost takeout business during pandemic-related shutdowns, they cannot currently offer them through third-party delivery services.

If signed, the bill would require bars and restaurants have a contractual agreement with those delivery companies before they can sell alcohol through them, which Jessica Dunker of the Iowa Restaurant Association said would help ensure the customers buying alcohol are old enough to do so.

“It’s really in response to consumer demand and what consumers are asking for, and that is that convenience of having the product brought directly to them,” she said.

Dunker said this bill would also help those restaurants and bars in the long run as consumers’ habits have shifted toward delivery. She noted that, sometimes, customers are unaware that as much as 30% of a restaurant bill goes to the delivery company.

“It’s the first step in what we consider to be a regulatory framework that we think will help restaurants and bars be able to profitably work with the third-party delivery system,” Dunker said.

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