Like our medieval forebears who conceived the Guild concept, many of Iowa’s brewers understand that there’s strength in numbers. A fairly loose organization meeting in bars and around picnic tables until 2007, the Iowa Brewers Guild organized its efforts to showcase and improve the quality of Iowa beer, promote communication among the state’s brewers, advocate for the promotion of the local brewing community, and lobby for progressive changes in Iowa laws to benefit the state’s craft brewing industry.
At a competitive disadvantage due to laws limiting the alcohol content in the beers they produced (while out-of-state breweries were free to distribute beer in Iowa that was above that 6% ABW threshold), the grassroots effort comprised of Iowa’s brewers and beer enthusiasts placed its first feather in the Guild’s cap in March of 2010, when Gov. Chet Culver signed S.F. 2088 into law. The law lifted the limit to 12% ABW (15.2% ABV) and restructured elements of distribution to benefit Iowa’s own breweries.
Since the law’s passage, the number of breweries in Iowa has nearly tripled, with a number of brewery owners noting that they wouldn’t have taken the leap into commercial brewing in Iowa without the new law.
Today, the number of breweries in the state, as well as other elements of a healthy craft beer culture—festivals, beer dinners, and tastings—continues to grow. Iowa brewers have received national and international awards as well as press coverage for the quality of their beers, and the Iowa Brewers Guild is pleased to be an ongoing part of that growth and development with educational and social opportunities for brewers and beer lovers alike.