Iowa law will make cocktails easier to get


Iowa law will make cocktails easier to get

Booze industry expanding into premixed, canned drinks

Americans’ drinking habits are changing, and Iowa Code is slowly adapting to accommodate new beverages.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law last week that will make boozier drinks easier to get.

Senate File 323 calls for canned cocktails — premixed drinks served in a metal can, up to 15 percent alcohol by volume — to be regulated like beer. Senate File 618 increases the limit on alcohol in beer from 5 percent to 6.25 percent.

Now, drinking establishments with only a beer license — which is cheaper for businesses to obtain than a full liquor license — will be able to sell canned beverages with much higher alcohol content. It’s a win for freedom in Iowa’s rural taverns and watering holes.

The era of a few giant beer and liquor distributors dominating grocery store shelves with limited offerings are long gone. Iowa law is finally catching up.

The craft beer revolution has been well documented during the past decade. Sales from small breweries have boomed, but not enough to offset the decline of traditional domestic beer. That’s left overall beer sales slumping or stagnant.

Americans are thirsty for something new, so the market is diversifying, with a more niche labels gaining greater market share. Some industry observers see trendy spirits and premixed drinks as the next big opportunity for growth.

Canned cocktails such as the ones now defined in the Iowa Code are still too small a market to measure growth in a meaningful way, but a couple other indicators suggest interest in such beverages is strong and growing.