Iowa law prohibiting out-of-state alcohol rarely enforced
Oct. 20, 2017
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are keeping a law that makes it illegal to transport most alcohol into the state despite police saying the regulation is rarely enforced.
The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division issued a bulletin this month to remind residents about the rules, The Telegraph Herald reported .
Department spokesman Tyler Ackerson said residents can't purchase beer or wine in another state and transport it into Iowa. The law allows for 1 liter of liquor purchased in the U.S. or 4 liters from outside the country to be personally imported.
Officials said the reminder was prompted by an increase in inquiries about the law.
Ackerson said the division doesn't enforce the law, but a violation would be a serious misdemeanor.
Police said enforcing the law would require too many resources.
"There is no doubt that it is occurring, especially given our proximity to two other states," said Lt. Scott Baxter, of the Dubuque Police Department. "But it is not among our highest priorities. If we were to enforce it, it would be a big demand on our personnel and manpower level."
The division tried to reverse the law last year, but the Legislature didn't act on it, Ackerson said.
Tim Althaus owns Family Beer & Liquor in East Dubuque, Illinois. He said out-of-state customers account for most of his sales.
"The majority of our customers are from Iowa, with Wisconsin and Illinois making up the rest," he said. "I would say that we would have a very difficult time staying in business if not for our local Iowa customers."
But some Iowa store owners say the lack of enforcement has affected their businesses.
"It is a lot of money that is leaving the state," said Beverly Miller, president of Sid's Beverage Store in Dubuque. "I 100 percent believe the law is not being enforced and I think it should be."
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com