Des Moines, Iowa, April 17, 2017 – Small Iowa distilleries are celebrating victory in their legislative effort to level the playing field with breweries and wineries in the state. House File 607 passed unanimously late this afternoon in the Iowa Senate. The bill had already passed the House of Representatives 93-1 last month. The bill now moves on to Governor Branstad to be signed into law.
“This is a bill we have been working hard on for almost four years now.” said Garrett Burchett, owner and distiller at Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, Iowa. “We are so pleased that the Legislature was able to reach across the aisle and put together a solution that everyone could come together on.”
The bill allows Iowa distilleries to sell the spirits they make by the glass in their tasting rooms. The bill also increases the current daily sales limit from two bottles per person, per day to a standard twelve bottle case. Lastly, the bill increases a state-imposed production cap that limits the amount of spirits a micro-distillery can make annually. Wineries and breweries in Iowa can sell by the glass and by the bottle with no sales or production limits.
Last fall, Iowa Economic Development and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division put together a task force to examine Iowa’s alcohol laws. One of the group’s primary recommendations was to support Iowa distilleries through this legislation. It was supported by the Iowa Chamber Alliance, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the Iowa Corn Growers, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Wine Growers Associations, the Iowa Brewers Guild and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.
“It’s been a long road. It took a great effort from Iowa distilleries, Director Durham at Iowa Economic Development, Representatives Mike Sexton, Ken Rizer and Guy Vander Linden in the House, Roby Smith in the Senate and Governor Branstad.” said Jeff Quint, owner and distiller at Cedar Ridge Distillery in Swisher, Iowa. “This bill is a victory for jobs, tourism, small businesses and entrepreneurialism. I’m proud to have been a part of the effort.”
The bill includes language to help Iowa breweries as well. It eliminates the requirement for brewpubs to send the beer they pour into growlers through a wholesale distributor and allows breweries to serve wine by the glass in their tap rooms.
Governor Branstad has already pledged support for the bill. Once he signs it, the new law will go into effect July 1 of this year.