Distillery bill stalled by Iowa Legislature during funnel week
Written by Lauren DeWitt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
A proposal to allow some liquor distilleries to serve and sell more of their own product was stalled by the Iowa Legislature on Friday. Small scale Iowa-based liquor distillers sought to serve by the glass and sell up to 12 bottles to customers from their distillery site. Currently, they're limited to selling two bottles per customers per day and can only offer two-ounce samples to visitors.
Joe Berger is the owner of Paradise Distilling Company in Dubuque. The company creates three types of rum. He said he supports the proposal to allow distilleries to serve and sell more of their own product.
"How many people go to a liquor store and say give me a shot and they decide that it is going to taste good in their Coke or Dr. Pepper, or 7-Up. Nobody. That's the only way we can give you a sample of ours. You get a one ounce sample, I mean we have three products and we can only give you two one ounce samples." Berger said.
Berger said because of the law he also has to ship products near Des Moines, then have it shipped back to Dubuque in order to sell it at his distillery site.
"It has to travel all the way up to Des Moines, sit in a warehouse for like 2 hours and then travel all the way back here. So there is a lot of logistics that in modern society don't make a lot of sense." Berger said.
Democratic State Representative, Pat Murphy, said the problem with the proposed bill is it goes against a three tier system in Iowa that has been in place since prohibition.
"It basically says that you have people who make beer, you have someone who distributes it, and then you have the actual places where you can buy it, whether it is a convenience store, bar or pub." Murphy said.
Murphy said that system is in place to avoid corruption.
"It's basically to avoid the corruption that occurred during prohibition days. So that one, the state can collect their taxes on it and two, also to avoid bootlegging. So that's the reason for the law. The law has pretty much remained in tack for the last 80 years." Murphy said.
Berger said he believes local distilleries will continue to work to get that bill changed.
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