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Iowa Liquor License Laws

City counsels sometimes overstep their bounds and deny applications that should have been approved. Our attorneys at Foster Law Office have successfully challenged the denial of liquor licenses, allowing small business owners to open their establishments even though their city counsel initially denied their application.

The Law

Obtaining a license to sell alcoholic beverages can require more than meeting the minimum eligibility requirements set out in the Iowa Code and the Iowa Administrative Code.  Local authorities, meaning the city counsel of an incorporated city or the county board of supervisors, have the ability to approve or deny an application before it is even sent to the Iowa Alcohol Beverages Division.  However, this ability does not automatically mean that they are able to deny any application that they want.

When a local authority denies an application for a liquor license, the person who applied can appeal the denial to the Iowa Alcohol Beverages Division.  The person is then given the opportunity to present evidence to show why they should have been granted the liquor license.  That person has the "burden of proof", meaning that they have to convince an administrative law judge that the city should have approved their application.  If they convince the administrative law judge that the city was wrong in denying the license, the judge will reverse that decision.

Navigating the alcoholic beverage laws can be confusing.  Challenging the denial of a liquor license generally requires the applicant to participate in hearing in front of an administrative law judge.  If you are having an issue related to your liquor license, please contact the experienced attorneys at Foster Law Office at 319-383-0405 or toll-free at 866-781-3971, or send our attorneys an e-mail.

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Foster Law Office
720 South Dubuque Street, Suite 1
P.O. Box 720
Iowa City, IA 52240
Phone: 319-383-0405
Toll Free: 866-781-3971
Fax: 319-339-7712
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