Cumming, Iowa, May 9, 2017 – It wasn’t happy hour, but Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday made sure fans of craft spirits in Iowa would soon be raising a glass.
The governor signed House File 607 into law, surrounded by craft distillers from all around the state, during a ceremonial signing at Iowa Distilling Company in Cumming.
“Our native distilleries are great examples.” said Branstad. “They provide local employment using Iowa grown crops like corn and rye and they provide something of value not only for our state, but for consumers throughout the nation.”
The bill allows small liquor manufacturers to sell their spirit by the glass at their manufacturing facility for the first time. It also expands the number of bottles the distillery can sell per person to 12 and increases the production cap to qualify for the small producer privileges.
The bill has been touted as a big step forward for rural jobs and tourism and Branstad agrees. “I know this legislation is going to provide a great boost for tourism all across the state of Iowa.”
Garrett and Ryan Burchett , owners of Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, have been working on the bill for nearly four years. “It’s a little surreal to finally see this day arrive.” said Garrett Burchett. “I’m very proud of the fact that after all this time, we were able to put together a bill that everyone can feel good about. This law is going to benefit our entire industry from top to bottom.”
While the Burchett brothers have been working on the bill for some time, the Governor was quick to note the struggle goes back much farther than four years. “This actually amends a law that dates back to 1934.” Branstad added.
Drinkers, however, will have to wait a few more months to take advantage of the new law: It doesn’t take effect until July. 1.
At Mississippi River Distilling Company, that day is fast approaching. “We ripped out the tasting bar Sunday night and the new bar was up on Monday.” Said Ryan Burchett. “People who visit us between now and July will have to put up with a bit of dust. But we know it will be worth it!”
The distillery plans a soft opening on July 1 with a grand opening celebration on July 7.