Laws important to business operation


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Employees and Agents - Licensee's Responsibility

Licensees are responsible for their employees and agents while they are working in the following capacities:

  • On the licensed premises (selling and serving alcoholic beverages).
  • Off the licensed premises (delivering alcoholic beverages).

If the licensee's employees and agents violate the laws or rules governing the license, administrative proceedings may be initiated to impose a civil penalty or to suspend or revoke the license.

Ages to Sell, Serve and Deliver

A licensee's employees and agents must be at least:

  • 16 to sell liquor, wine, or beer in original unopened containers for off-premises consumption (grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, etc.).
  • 18 to sell and dispense liquor, wine, or beer for on-premises consumption (restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.).
  • 21 to deliver liquor, wine, or beer in original unopened containers to a home or other designated location for personal use (licensees and permittees authorized to sell liquor, wine, or beer for off-premises consumption).

Note: Age requirements apply to the licensee’s family members as well as non-family employees. If there is a local ordinance governing minors in licensed establishments, the ordinance applies.

Local Ordinances

Local authorities may adopt ordinances governing licensed establishments that are located within their jurisdiction. Local ordinances may be more restrictive than state law, but may not conflict with the law. For example, local authorities may not adopt ordinances changing the legal hours of sale. (Hours of sale are specified by state law.)

Always check with the local authority to determine if local ordinances apply to the licensed establishment. If the local authority has ordinances governing the selling and serving of liquor, wine and beer, the local ordinances apply to the licensed establishment. Violation of a local ordinance may result in suspension of the license through a local administrative hearing. Civil penalties may not be imposed for violations of local ordinances.

Home Delivery

Licensees and permittees authorized to sell liquor, wine, or beer for off-premises consumption may deliver alcoholic beverages in original unopened containers to homes or other designated locations in Iowa, provided it is purchased for personal use by a person age 21 or older.
Deliveries of liquor, wine, or beer are subject to the following restrictions:

  • Licensees and permittees may only deliver the alcoholic beverages they are authorized to sell for off-premises consumption.
  • Payment must be received on the licensed premises at the time of order.
  • Delivery shall only be made to a person who is age 21 or older.
  • Delivery shall be made by an employee of the licensee or permittee, age 21 or older, and not by a third party.
  • Delivery shall be made in a vehicle leased, owned, or under the control of the licensee or permittee.
  • Delivery shall occur between these hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Sun: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Delivery shall not be made to a person who is intoxicated or simulating intoxication.
  • Delivery shall be made to a recipient age 21 or older. Valid proof of recipient’s age and the recipient’s signature shall be obtained as a condition of delivery.
  • Licensee or permittee is required to maintain a record of deliveries for three years. Records shall include quantity delivered, recipient’s name, address, and signature.
  • Iowa Code section §123.46A (PDF, opens in a new window)

Record-Keeping Requirements

Licensees must maintain their business records on the licensed premises. Iowa law requires licensees to make their records available to law enforcement officials and to staff of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division during business hours or when the licensee, their employees, agents or patrons are on the licensed premises.

Display of Licenses

Licensees must prominently display their liquor, wine or beer licenses in full view of the public.