Your cold drink at the Iowa State Fair this past summer could eventually land its vendor in hot water. A major Des Moines beer distributor is drunk with trouble over violations of federal law tied to its beer sales at the fair.

The Iowa Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau accused Iowa Beverage Systems of negotiating a sponsorship in 2019 where, in exchange for paying $100,000, they would receive a certain (undisclosed) number of beer taps at the fair. Bribery at its finest, that could now cost Iowa Beverage Systems $325,000.

The Des Moines Register says Iowa Beverage Systems made similar payments to another retailer on the fairgrounds in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The violations state that Iowa Beverage "violated state and federal laws, drafted after Prohibition, aimed at preventing corruption and ensuring a level playing field among distributors in licensed alcohol sales."

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According to the Tax and Trade Bureau, these acts violate the Federal Alcohol Administration Act and to give you an idea of how much trouble Iowa Beverage might be in, individual violations generally amount to a maximum civil penalty of $21,600. Iowa Beverage Systems' potential fine is, again, $325,000. Iowa Beverage Systems distributes Miller, Coors, Old Milwaukee, and several other beers.

"The payments were made, in part, to guarantee the retailer only purchased (Iowa Beverage) malt beverage products," a spokesperson for the Tax and Trade Bureau said.

Iowa Beverage Systems was also accused in 2020 of "offering a thing of value in conjunction with a community event to directly influence the retailer’s sale of alcoholic beverages".

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