Iowa Becomes The 1st State To Legalize Cocktails-To-Go
House File 2540 passed the Iowa Senate 44-4 and passed the Iowa House unanimously (96-0) over the weekend. Governor Kim Richards signed the bill into law on Monday.
The new change to the Iowa Code allows bars to sell alcoholic beverages, mixed drinks and cocktails for carry-out and delivery. Bars have already been doing that in Iowa under temporary permission during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The measure had been put in place to help Iowa's bars and restaurants that, like here in Illinois, had been looking for some sort of economic help to offset the huge losses they were incurring due to the shutdown.
Several Iowa bars set up delivery and carry-out options for mixed drinks while weathering COVID-19 closures, which began in March. Some bars sold the ingredients for DIY cocktails, while others served up drinks in mason jars and flasks.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States gives the Iowa governor's decision a big-thumbs up in a statement:
Iowa’s hospitality businesses have suffered greatly due to the harsh financial impacts of COVID-19,” said Dale Szyndrowski, DISCUS Vice President of State Government Relations. “Making cocktails to-go permanent provides a much-needed source of stability and revenue for local bars, restaurants and distilleries as they begin to recover. We thank Governor Reynolds and the legislature for supporting local businesses and their employees by making Iowa the first state to make a temporary cocktails to-go measure permanent. Iowa is leading the way and serving as a model for other states looking for innovative ways to boost struggling hospitality businesses.
At this point, 30 states, including Illinois, are allowing to-go sales of cocktails on a temporary basis. It remains to be seen which states are going to make the change a permanent one.