Iowa Sets New Rules for Mixed Drinks, Cocktails To-go

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) has officially implemented new rules for the filling, sealing and sale of mixed drinks or cocktails to-go.

These new regulations prohibit the sale of mixed drinks or cocktails to-go in paper or Styrofoam cups, or plastic cups that are intended for one-time use. Lids with straw holes or sipping holes are also not allowed.

Containers of mixed drinks or cocktails to-go must bear a seal that makes it visibly apparent when the seal has been tampered with. The types of sealing methods allowed under the rules are heat shrink wrap bands around the cap or lid, twist-top caps that break apart when the container is opened, or vacuum or heat-sealed pouches containing the mixed drink or cocktail.

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These container and sealing requirements are necessary to comply with federal open container laws and ensure that Iowa does not lose approximately $12 million in annual federal funding for bridge and road construction and repair projects, the organization says.

Mixed drinks or cocktails to-go that are in containers and have sealing methods allowed under the rules are not open containers, and can be transported in the passenger area of motor vehicles.

Customers transporting mixed drinks or cocktails to-go that are not in compliance with the rules in the passenger area of a motor vehicle could face a fine of $200 for an open container violation. Licensees found to be selling mixed drinks or cocktails to-go that are not in compliance with the rules could face a civil penalty, license suspension or license revocation.

On June 29, House File 2540 was signed into law, legalizing the sale of mixed drinks or cocktails to-go by class “C” and class “C” native distilled spirits liquor licensees. The legislation also authorized ABD to adopt emergency administrative rules to implement the provisions of law related to mixed drinks or cocktails sold to-go.

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