Lobbyists kill price hike on liquor in Iowa

(The Center Square) – In the state of Iowa, critics of a plan that would have meant higher prices for alcohol products have managed to slow the plan in its tracks.

Shortly after the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division announced plans to implement a price floor for liquor products, lobbyists for the liquor and restaurant industries sprang into action to kill the price increase supporters insisted was aimed at curbing unhealthy and heavy drinking.

The plan would have set a minimum unit price for liquor based on bottle size and alcohol by volume, almost certainly pushing prices higher for such favorites as vodka and rum of as high as 30%, according to the Associated Press.

The Alcoholic Beverages Division moved to change course after getting feedback from “suppliers and other stakeholders.” Iowa Restaurant Association president Jessica Dunker is also among those not in support of the plan.

“Restaurants and bars have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and they worried a price hike would undermine their sales and profits,” she said. “You can imagine my distress.”

Still, Alcoholic Beverages Division officials vowed to fight another day, insisting that the plan is good public policy and will be revisited at another time.

Democratic Sen. Claire Celsi has also blasted those opposed to the plan, pointing out that deaths from alcohol addiction have risen dramatically in the state over the last decade.

The commission that oversees the agency recently voted to install Christine Spratt, a vice president of an alcohol distribution company in Mount Pleasant, as its chairperson.

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