New Iowa bill in the works making it easier for distilleries to sell liquor

LECLAIRE, Iowa-- It's a fresh batch of homemade liquor bottled and packaged right here at the Mississippi River Distillery. A new bill in the works aims to make selling this liquor a lot easier.

"It was a no brainer, real simple. And that's why you see the recommendations you do," says distillery owner Garrett Burchett.

Burchett is part of a group hand picked by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad that's taking a closer look at liquor laws in the state. The group is made up of a cross section of people who deal with alcohol from law enforcement to public health employees to distributors.

On Wednesday the group came up with five recommended changes. Three out of the five have to do with getting rid of limitations on distilleries.

Right now in Iowa, a customer is limited to how much they can buy.

"Unfortunately they get to take two bottles or a t-shirt instead where I think a lot of people would take an entire case," says Burchett.

60-thousand people visit the distillery a year and buy bottles. The state collects 50-percent of those sales.

"It's really a lost opportunity. I think it's a lost opportunity for the state of Iowa," says Burchett.

The board recommended to change the limit to 12 bottles instead of the current two.

And if you wanted to come in for a cocktail or two, you'll have to go to the brewery next door. Distilleries in Iowa can only serve a taste of alcohol of two ounces.

"I'd love to try this in an old fashioned with your whiskey. Those are the things we then have to explain to the customer well, it doesn't work like that in Iowa," says Burchett.

The group recommended to get rid of the two ounce limit.

Another recommendation, to remove the distillery production limit and to change the brew pub growler rule.

Burchett has been pushing for these changes for the past five years. But now he has a governor appointed board backing him up.

"It's a group made up of so many different people that it's hard to look away from it," says Burchett.

Right now the bill is being drafted and will be presented to the House and Senate early next week.