Guest view: Consumers lose if Iowa alcohol laws are gutted

Consumers would be the first losers. Favorite beers, wines and spirits – big and small – could be excluded from aisles, tap lines, refrigerated spaces or entire stores altogether.

Increasingly, money would undermine merit-based shelf and tap access. Exclusive agreements and inducements would give retailers incentives to hit volume targets, nudging up consumption. Absentee-manufacturers calling shots at the retail level become more likely to disregard contemporary community standards and norms. Precisely the practice tied-house protections are designed to prevent.

Wide market access and consumer choice in this industry is because of Iowa’s three-tier system and its tied-house protections, not despite them. Let’s maintain Iowa’s free houses and keep the tied house a pre-Prohibition relic.

 Nathan Cooper is the executive director of the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association.

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