Iowa lawmakers consider expanded growler sales - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa lawmakers consider expanded growler sales

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REINBECK (KWWL) - State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow expanded sales of craft beer in gas stations and grocery stores.

Currently, there's an established system under federal law that separates manufacturers, distributors and retailers. This dates back to the repeal of prohibition. Under the expanded law, small craft breweries would be allowed to sell 64 oz. 'growlers' in licensed gas stations and grocery stores. The refillable beer containers have previously been popular at craft breweries.

The bill, Senate File 456, passed the Senate this week, and now goes to the house. It's sponsored by Sen. Jeff Danielson (D - Cedar Falls).

Initially, it was opposed by lobbyists from the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association, but after a few amendments, it passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Under the expanded guidelines, craft breweries would be allowed to ship kegs to third party stores, which would then be allowed to fill growlers directly before they're sold. Beer cannot be distributed to retailers in the growlers, and they cannot be stored long-term in coolers.

It's an exciting to smaller businessmen like Trevor Schellhorn, the owner of Broad Street Brewing in Reinbeck.

"Anytime we can get more of our products into more people's hands, I think there's nothing wrong with that," Schellhorn said.

By shipping the beer in kegs, the expanded guidelines still work within the established distribution system.

Danielson called the compromise a bump for small business.

"This is a big change in that sense that there will be the ability of craft beer folks to develop a regional network for the products and perhaps farther," he said.

The bill will now be sent to the Iowa House.
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