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DES MOINES -- The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division estimates that about 200 convenience stores will be issued liquor licenses as a result of a new law that eases restrictions on selling spirits in c-stores.
The new law, which Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed last week, allows convenience stores and gas stations to sell liquor without the previous restrictions, such as a separate room and cash register. Currently, 54 convenience stores across the state sell liquor with premises restrictions, according to the Cherokee Chronicle Times.
Convenience stores with a license to sell liquor will face fees from $3,500 to $7,500 depending on population, location and square footage. The new stores could generate up to $2.5 million a year in additional revenue for Iowa, the new outlet reported.
Several amendments were added to the original bill, HF 617, as it made its way through the state legislature. For example, the final version redefines high-alcohol content beer to prohibit the addition of caffeine and other stimulants -- which effectively bans high-proof alcoholic energy drinks in Iowa.
In addition, the governor now has the power to appoint up to two members from the alcohol industry to the five-person Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Prior to now, only one industry member could sit on the commission.
The bill goes into effect July 1 and the ban on high-alcohol energy drinks is effective immediately.