Alcoholic Beverage Control Study


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On May 12, 2017, with the signing of Senate File 516 (External link to Iowa Legislature, opens in a new window) by former Governor Terry Branstad, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD), in conjunction with other stakeholders ABD deemed necessary, was directed to conduct a study concerning enforcement issues related to alcoholic beverage control. The directive included instructions to consider the manner of properly balancing the appropriate regulation of the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of alcoholic liquor, wine, and beer in the state with emerging market trends in the industry.

Specific areas of study were to include issues relating to the three-tier system of alcohol regulation and Iowa Code section 123.45 (commonly referred to as Iowa’s tied house law) as it impacts the ability of manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to meet changing marketplace conditions and business opportunities. ABD was required to submit a final report providing the results of the study, as well as any findings and recommendations, to the General Assembly by July 1, 2018.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Study (PDF, 25.7 MB, opens in a new window).

ABD's goal through the study was to provide relevant information to help the Iowa legislature better understand the complex - but important - tied house laws meant to protect the independence of the individual tiers within the three-tier system, and assist the legislature as it determines whether Iowa's tied house laws adequately meet the needs of the modern marketplace and the public policy purpose of Iowa's alcohol laws to protect the welfare, health, peace, morals, and safety of the people of the state.

The study also serves as a foundation of work to educate other alcohol regulatory entities, industry members and associations, and other interested stakeholders about the history of the three-tier system of alcohol regulation, tied house prohibitions, exceptions to tied house prohibitions, prior and existing tied house conflicts in Iowa, judicial review of tied house law in Iowa, federal code and regulation, and other states' tied house laws.

Any questions on the content of the study should be directed to ABD Public Service Manager Lolani Lekkas (