DES MOINES, Iowa — The days of needing to be 18 to serve alcohol may be coming to an end in Iowa. A bill in the state legislature would eliminate the age requirement to serve in restaurants and bars as well as sell alcohol in stores.
Right now, anyone can take an alcohol order but an adult must physically serve the drink or ring up the sale in a store.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Wills, R-Spirit Lake, said the current age limit makes it hard on restaurants and bars that are dealing with a labor shortage.
“We desperately need servers,” he said. “We desperately need folks to work in our businesses that can do the full job and when they can only do part of the job it’s kind of a hindrance to our workforce.”
Wills said employers also tell him they want people who can do the entire job.
“You’re at the busy high point of the day, for somebody to say, ‘Alright, I just got an order for a beer,’ they pour it and then somebody else has to bring that beer to the table, it really just disrupts the entire restaurant and entire situation that they’re in,” he said.
When the bill passed out of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Jan. 19, some lawmakers did express concern about potential liability issues for businesses as well as whether someone under 18 is mature enough to avoid overserving a customer.
Wills said the law would still require an adult to be on the premises when alcohol is being served.
He added right now under Iowa law, someone under 18 can take an alcoholic beverage back to the kitchen that’s only been partially consumed.