Iowa is first in the nation to permanently legalize to-go cocktails

    Iowa is the first state in the country to permanently legalize to-go cocktails. (Photo by Linh Ta/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    Iowa has officially legalized the sale of to-go cocktails, making the COVID-19 fad a permanent fixture in the state.

    Gov. Kim Reynolds signed House File 2540 into law on Monday, legalizing the sale of sealed  alcohol for consumption “off-premises.” In the past, drinks sold by bars and restaurants had to be consumed on-site.

    While other states have implemented temporary measures allowing for the sale of to-go cocktails, Iowa is the first one to make it a permanent fixture, said Jessica Dunker, president of the Iowa Restaurant Association.

    The new law will help Iowa restaurants and bars as more consumers order their meals to-go during the pandemic.

    “We need every tool in the tool shed,” Dunker said.

    Critics of the legislation argued during legislative debate that the proposal would increase the opportunities for underage Iowans to access alcoholic beverages.

    Drinks may be no larger than 72 ounces. They must be sealed in a way that visibly indicates it’s been opened, according to the law.

    Linh Ta
    Reporter Linh Ta comes to Iowa Capital Dispatch from the Des Moines Register, where she covered trending news, public safety and the suburbs. Most recently, she has covered retail business and followed both national and local trends to provide insight about the issues that matter the most to Iowans. Beyond traditional journalism, Ta has worked as a speech coach with the Des Moines Storytellers Project with the goal of sharing the diverse perspectives of Iowans from all walks of life. She is the 2019 winner of the Young Iowa Journalist Award and the winner of an Iowa Broadcast News Award. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @linhmaita.