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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Iowa Liquor Law

Minimum Ages

Minimum Ages

Many teenagers want to work part-time. There are numerous work opportunities in the hospitality sector. What is the legal drinking age in the United States? What about being a bartender?

Adults are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages at venues for on-premises consumption under Iowa alcohol laws. Anyone over the age of 18 is considered an adult. Adults can work as bartenders as well. They may also work selling spirits for consumption away from the premises. Individuals aged 16 and up may sell beer and wine for consumption elsewhere.

The age difference between selling spirits and selling beer and wine is based on a myth and it has nothing to do with Iowa liquor laws. That is the common misconception that spirits are more intoxicating than beer or wine. However, normal servings of beer, wine, and spirits all have the same amount of alcohol. Each has 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol, and they are all equivalent in terms of alcohol content.

Anyone under the age of 21 may drink in a home if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

It is permissible for persons under the age of 21 to be present at licensed establishments. Localities, on the other hand, may have regulations that make it unlawful.

Using a phony ID to purchase alcohol is a crime. Retailers have the authority to seize IDs that appear to be fake. A conviction for using such a false ID may result in the suspension of one's driver's license.

It is prohibited for anyone under the age of 21 to drive if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is greater than 0.02 percent.

Additional Iowa Alcohol Laws

Iowa's liquor laws make it illegal for anyone of any age to consume alcohol in public. Anyone under the age of 17 who is convicted of a non-adult offense may have their driver's license taken away. It is important to note that the offense is drinking, not intoxication.

Selling Alcohol

Licensed companies may sell and serve alcohol from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. From Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

The hours when businesses may legally deliver alcoholic beverages to venues other than licensed premises vary. They are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Distilled spirits may only be sold in state government monopoly outlets. That includes whiskey, rum, tequila, scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages.

It is illegal for an alcoholic beverage retailer to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. If the offense is performed by the holder of an alcohol license, the fine is $1,500. The penalty is $500 if an employee sold the alcohol.

The following are the penalties for licensees that sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

The penalty for a first conviction is a $500 fine or a 14-day suspension of the alcohol license. A second conviction within two years results in a 30-day license suspension and a $1,500 fine.

If you commit a third infraction within three years, you can face a 60-day license suspension and a $1,500 fine. A fourth offense results in the permanent cancellation of the alcohol license.

Alcohol retailers have the legal right to confiscate what they believe to be fake IDs. For the questionable documents, they must offer a receipt. Retailers must then report the questionable IDs to law enforcement.


Alcohol Testing

Iowa's drinking rules oblige drivers to undergo alcohol testing if officers request it. Everyone has the right under the Constitution to reject. However, the penalty for exercising that right is a one-year license suspension.

Drivers who fail the exam and score more than 0.08 percent have their licenses suspended for 180 days. That is approximately six months or half of the punishment for exercising their right. (However, if a personal injury occurs, the state suspends the license for up to one year.)

These sanctions do not apply if you refuse to take a field sobriety test. These tests are quite untrustworthy. For example, 30% of people with a BAC of zero (00.0%) fail. That is, around one out of every three perfectly sober persons fails them.

Police, on the other hand, adore them. They have sophisticated ways of convincing people to take them. Some even argue that it is required by law. Of course, that is not the case. In reality, no state law demands it.

Officers have the legal authority to lie when conducting an investigation. Don't be a fool, then. According to lawyers, field breath tests are not only ineffective but often hazardous. Drivers are advised to never, ever take one. Their advice is to gently decline and to do so as frequently as needed.


Iowa alcohol regulations prohibit anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more from operating a watercraft in Iowa (BWI).

The state fines persons up to $1,000 for their first offense. The fine may include at least two days in jail and a one-year suspension of the boating license.

Furthermore, the fines can go up to $5,000 for a second conviction and individuals might be imprisoned for at least seven days. Ultimately, the state has the authority to withdraw its operator's license for a period of two years.

A fine of up to $7,500 is imposed for a third and subsequent conviction. They might be imprisoned for up to a year by the state. It may also revoke their license for a period of six years.

Those accused of BWI must also undergo substance addiction evaluation and treatment. They must also complete a course for drunk drivers.

In addition to these sanctions, the law imposes severe fines if the BWI causes bodily harm or death.

Alcohol Testing

According to Iowa law, boaters must cooperate with police demands for alcohol testing. People who exercise their constitutional right to decline are fined up to $500 by the state. Furthermore, the state suspends their boating license for up to a year.


While your license is valid, inspections may take place regularly. When you submit a new license application or update an existing license, you sign an oath granting the aforementioned individual access to your premises during work hours.

  • Alcoholic Beverage Division and Department of Inspections and Appeals representatives

  • Officials from the Department of Public Safety, as well as police and sheriff departments, were there.

  • Inspectors of fire, health, and building codes

They have the authority to enter the premises, examine, and inspect it to ensure that it complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances.

Sunday Sales License

Sunday sales privileges are required for licensees who sell or provide alcoholic beverages on Sundays. This is not a separate license, but rather an expansion of your standard liquor, beer, or wine license. It is an option that can be chosen during the application process. This type of license must be renewed on an annual basis.

Renew License

Licenses are renewed through your local council, and a 70-day renewal notification should be mailed to you from your local department. It is recommended that you start the renewal process as soon as you receive the notice. Some local governments require license renewal applications to be filed 30 to 60 days before the contract ends, so verify with your local department.

License Types and Fees

License Types and Fees


Class A: Non-profit clubs (members and guests only) are permitted to sell alcoholic liquor, wine, beer, and wine coolers for on-premises consumption only; no carry-out purchases are permitted. Sales are only available to members and visitors.

Hotels and Motels

Class B: Establishments with 20 or more overnight rooms that sell alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, and wine coolers for on-premises consumption, including room service. Allows for the selling of beer and wine coolers in their original, sealed containers for carry-out.

Taverns, Bars, Restaurants, etc

Class B Beer: Allows commercial establishments to sell beer and wine drinks for consumption on the premises. Permits carry-out sales of beer and wine coolers in their original, sealed bottles.

Class C: Authorizes commercial establishments to sell alcoholic liquor, wine, beer, and wine coolers for immediate consumption. Permits the selling of beer and wine coolers in their original, unopened bottles for carry-out.

New Iowa Law

On July 1, a new Iowa legislation that allows consumers to have alcohol delivered to their homes went into effect.

The law allows liquor-licensed bars, restaurants, and grocery shops to collaborate with third-party delivery services and applications such as GrubHub or CHOMP to deliver beer, wine, and cocktails with food alternatives. However, according to the Iowa Restaurant Association, it may be some time before alcohol delivery becomes a common choice in Iowa.

Recently, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division issued more instructions for the statute. They stated that consumers and delivery drivers must be at least 21 years old and that alcohol can only be transported between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

The guidance further indicates that deliveries must not be delivered to anyone who is intoxicated or appears to be intoxicated.

Although Tom Fowler Law is a personal injury law office, you can contact one of the lawyers for more information regarding Iowa's criminal laws whether it be regarding liquor laws, weed laws, or fireworks laws.

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