Raise the Bar!
  • Petitioned The State of Iowa

This petition was delivered to:

The State of Iowa
Iowa Governor
Iowa State House
Iowa State Senate
Iowa-043
State Sen. Joe Bolkcom

Raise the Bar!

    1. Kurt Michael Friese
    2. Petition by

      Kurt Michael Friese

      Iowa City, IA

It's time to liberate Iowa's talented mixologists from restrictive laws that inhibit nothing but their creativity.  Iowa's bartenders are currently barred from infusing their own spirits, or making bitters or barrel-aged cocktails.  Iowa Code § 123.49(2) should be corrected.  In a letter I received from the Iowa ABD from Karen Freund, Deputy Administrator for Regulation and Compliance, in response to my request for permission to produce infused spirits and bitters, Ms. Freund stated:

"In the email, you describe a process of adding botanical flavors to spirits to create a bitter, which is added, by drop, to cocktails. The information you provided involves a process of adulterating alcoholic liquor, otherwise known as infusing liquor. To be compliant with Iowa law, this process shall not:

1) Involve keeping alcoholic liquor in any container except the original package
purchased from the division (Iowa Code § 123.49(2)(d)) and

2) Adulterate the contents or remaining contents of an original package of an
alcoholic liquor or wine by the addition of any substance or knowingly possess
any original package which has been reused or adulterated (Iowa Code
§ 123.49(2)(e))."

It is an arcane and intrusive law that restricts the creativity of Iowa's many talented mixologists.  Infused spirits, bitters, and barrel-aged cocktails do not increase alcohol abuse, in fact they temper it by getting drinkers to concentrate on the true savor of their cocktails as opposed to looking at them as mere alcohol delivery systems.  Iowa's bars, especially those that have restaurants, are perfectly capable of serving these libations safely, "Raising the Bar" for everyone.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. We broke 600!

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks all for your continued efforts - we passed 600 today just ahead of Tuesday's first subcommittee hearing on the bill to 'Free the Bartenders!' The fight has not ended yet though, so please keep'em coming back for more - share this link in your email, twitter, facebook posts, anywhere folks might see it. And don't forget to call or email your Rep's & Sen's and tell'em to support SF2089!

    2. Press-Citizen Editorial Praises 'Raise the Bar!' Effort

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      The support keeps coming - this time from the opinion editor of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Read the editorial, comment, and share with your networks and sen's & rep's

    3. KWWL Covers the Raise the Bar! Campaign

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Released just yesterday, here's KWWL's coverage of our initiative to "Free the Bartenders!" (with apologies for the 10 second ad that precedes it).

    4. The latest:

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Watch KWWL-7's evening news tonite - big feature on our "Raise the Bar!" effort. Also: only 27 sigs needed to break 600 on the petition, so please keep spreading the word around your personal networks of friends!

    5. More Press: This time in the PC

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Check out the article in today's Press-Citizen - let's keep this momentum going!

    6. GREAT Article in today's DMReg

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      "Tea party activists, move over. Here come the cocktail party activists.

      "The Iowa Restaurant Association and several prominent Iowa food establishments and bars have targeted the Iowa Capitol for a hospitality-minded lobbying campaign. They’re proposing to toast an end to what they see as antiquated alcoholic beverage statutes, some of them enacted before Prohibition."

      More at the link:

    7. We have a Bill!

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Say hello to Senate File 2089: An Act concerning the authority of a liquor control licensee to keep certain mixed drinks or cocktails on the licensed premises. Senate President Jeff Danielson is now assigning it to a committee, which is the next step in the consideration process. Spread the word! Tell your legislators you support SF2089, an act to FREE THE BARTENDERS!

    8. Reached 500 signatures
    9. Infusion video

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Check out this fun and informative video about making infusions. This is what we'd like to be allowed to do in Iowa bars and restaurants. Is that so wrong?

    10. How to infuse vodka

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Here's a simple article on how to do the basics of what we are trying to legalize here in Iowa. Very simple and perfectly legal to do at home, we'd like Iowa's talented and creative mixologists to be allowed to do this behind the bar......

    11. KGAN TV2 Broadcasts "Raise the Bar!"

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Broadcast live from Devotay, where the initiative began...

    12. Archaic law

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      This is not just some letter to the editor, it's from the Gazette Editorial Board supporting Raise the Bar!

    13. Devotay owner pushing for change in liquor law

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      More great press for the campaign. And good comments by Sen. Bolkcom about the opposition the rule change might face.

    14. Reason Magazine: Infusing Illegal in Iowa

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      This is some great attention. It's a little heavy-handed with the anti-state control issue, as there is more to the prohibition of infusions than that, but still, worthy and welcome coverage.

    15. Don't forget to 'Like' our Facebook page

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Keep up to date on developments as the campaign continues to gain steam... and help spread the word!

    16. CR Gazette Writes Up "Raise the Bar"

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Please share this article from the Gazette widely - it will help get our message out!

    17. Reached 250 signatures
    18. Iowa City's Patch.com has posted about Raise the Bar

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      The publicity is starting to gain traction. We have a forthcoming article in the CR Gazette, perhaps some interest from the Register and the PC, and right now, this at Patch.com

    19. Why they are signing: Alexander Rhoads

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Alexander Rhoads
      about 17 hours ago

      While our business does not sell alcohol, we do support amending Section 123.49(2) because the proposed changes will increase the number of ways that the culinary herbs, spices, peppers, chiles, and vanillas that we do sell can be used by Iowans. Recipes for infused liquors, bitters, and similar spirits appear in virtually every mass-market and gourmet food and beverage publication each month. While at some point in the distant past (last century) there may have been legitimate public safety reasons for a blanket ban on "adulterating" liquor, prohibiting the culinary creations of infused liquors, extracts or bitters does not advance any of those goals (to the extent they may still exist).

      Changing the quoted section of the Iowa Code to allow this will encourage and help develop the affected businesses. One need only look at the excellent results obtained just a few years ago when the legislature removed the archaic restrictions on so-called "high a

    20. Petition breaks 150

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Actually, as I type, it's 151 - a somewhat appropriate number!

    21. Facebook

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Please be sure to 'like' Raise the Bar on Facebook, and share it and this petition with all your friends!

    22. Bitters: The Book!

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Check out this beautiful and informative book about bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons. This is precisely what Iowa's mixologists would like to be able to do. Seems simple enough, no?

    23. 100!

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Hey folks, we passed 100 sig's today! Please continue sharing, and be sure to post it to the Facebook Pages of your state rep's & senators: http://www.change.org/petitions/raise-the-bar

      And thanks! ~kmf

    24. Reached 100 signatures
    25. Raise the Bar comes to the Huffington Post

      Kurt Michael Friese
      Petition Organizer

      Please help spread the word!

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Patrick Prediger CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
      • over 1 year ago

      Iowa needs to wake up and act like a respectable state of the U.S. There is more going on here than farming and agriculture, and to keep free-thinking / progressive people in the state, Iowa will need to move forward and change.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dylan Naylor CHURDAN, IA
      • about 2 years ago

      My favorite restaurant wishes to sell bacon-infused vodka. Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kenji Yoshino GRINNELL, IA
      • about 2 years ago

      I find the law restrictive. I bartend and feel like our establishment would be able to draw in new customers with more creative cocktails and infusions.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eric johnson LE CLAIRE, IA
      • over 2 years ago

      creativity creates money

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • andy bonnet DECORAH, IA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am a restaurant owner (rubaiyat) and think the iowa liquor laws a whole are some of the worst in the country. i will help in any way that i can. please contact me if i can be of any further assistance.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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