Growlers and the Iowa Laws

Discussion in 'Beer' started by cc1091, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. cc1091

    cc1091 Active Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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    I hope that someone who has first hand knowledge of the laws with respect to growlers in Iowa will reply to this thread.

    When I moved back to Iowa a few years ago, my friends (one who works at a brewery, and the other who used to own a brewery till he decided he could make more money as a microbiologist at the U of I) both told me that in order to sell and fill growlers, a place that sells beer MUST be a brewery. (Some insight has clued me in that it may be more complex than that, but more on that later in this post) At about this time, I had also heard of the issues that The Bait Shop in Des Moines had gone through with their growlers (something about not being able to fill growlers or perhaps not able to fill them without the old growler being sent to a clearing house for cleaning, and then back to the Bait Shop... something crazy like that).

    So in the post 2008 flood environment that was (and perhaps still is) Cedar Rapids Iowa, statewide laws may or may not be enforced apparently at the whim of one city official or another. And in that environment, it seemed that almost every bar that dealt with non-macro brewed beer that was on tap, also dealt with growlers and growler refills. At the time, I was unaware of any changes in the Iowa laws governing growlers. My understanding was that any place that sold and refilled growlers must also brew the beer that they sell in growlers on site. But the difficulty was that bars who did not brew ANY beer were refilling and selling growlers. There was also another class of bar that brewed on site, but also served product from other breweries (including Bud, Milller, etc). Finally, of course, there were the actual breweries who sold mostly or only their own beers.

    More recently, those bars who used to sell and refill growlers, suddenly stopped (including at least one actual brewery that also sells the macro brewed beers). My belief is that this was because word had finally gotten back to the state, and the state made sure everyone feared possible enforcement of the laws regarding growlers. HOWEVER, at about this time, Hy-Vee started offering growlers of two different sizes, and judging by my local HyVee, they will fill it with Budweiser or anything else that is on tap.

    So obviously, my question is, what IS the Iowa law concerning growlers? Only for beer sold at the brewery where it is produced? Only for beer at a place that has purchased a license to resell by the growler? Only for non-macrobrew beers sold at a bar that sells no macrobeers by the tap? Some other variant?
     
  2. Gorm

    Gorm Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2010
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    I'm guessing their pretty lax now. The new Kum&Go nearby has their own branded growlers now and about 10 taps to choose from.
     
  3. cc1091

    cc1091 Active Member

    Oct 10, 2007
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