New Iowa law allows for expanded home delivery of alcohol

Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 12:12 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A new Iowa law that will let people get alcohol delivered to their home went into effect on July 1.

The law lets bars, restaurants, and grocery stores with liquor licenses work with third-party delivery services and apps like GrubHub or CHOMP to offer delivery of beer, wine, and cocktails alongside food options. But the Iowa Restaurant Association says it will take some time before alcohol delivery is a widespread option in Iowa.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released more guidelines for the law on Thursday. They include stating that customers and delivery drivers are required to be at least 21, and alcohol can only be delivered between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

The guidance also states deliveries shall not be made to a person who is intoxicated or is simulating intoxication.

Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association, said the law does open doors to make more money.

“Consumers want alcohol and food delivered to their home, and they don’t just want pizzas anymore,” Dunker said.

Dunker said there is shared liability between restaurants and delivery services, with both sides confirming the customer is at least 21. She believes that the new rules were largely driven by consumer demand and grocery stores.

“Well what I think it’s going to do is create some confusion among consumers,” Dunker said. “Because today you’re not going to be able to open up your favorite mobile app and automatically see alcohol delivery as part of your restaurant, and food experience.”

Especially as this comes after a challenging year for the industry.

“We can’t find the people that we need to work, the workforce issues are huge. Products are hard to come by, now you add this whole mix of how to add third-party delivery of alcohol and it’s just overwhelming,” Dunker said.

The law could also benefit distilleries across the state.

For local delivery service CHOMP, co-founder Adam Weeks says change won’t be coming anytime soon.

“It’s intriguing,” Weeks said, “But we didn’t have a lot of clarification until yesterday when the bulletin came out and since the bulletin came out it’s become clear that there are some hurdles to jump through.”

Weeks said that while he believes there would be interest from customers, there are hurdles involved in delivering alcohol, especially as many of their drivers are not 21 years old, and wouldn’t be able to deliver drinks.

“It’s something we do we have to do it right,” Weeks said. “And follow the law and take care of the restaurants properly, and have the appropriate age drivers and be able to get the information we need from the customers and cross all those hurdles.”

KCRG-TV9 reached out to GrubHub, a national food delivery service, which confirmed it will be taking advantage of the new law in Iowa.

“This law will give Iowa’s restaurants an important tool to generate revenue and orders and we are happy to implement it ASAP,” Grant Klinzman, a spokesperson from GrubHub, said, in an emailstatement. “The date is TBD, but the technology will be similar to what we have used in other places, you can read about Chicago and NYC here. The most important initial step is driver education about how to facilitate the orders and verify age.”

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