I was digging around several federal and state databases looking for information on some local distilleries when I found an interesting page on the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division’s website. On this website the Division lists all (I assume all) open records requests filed with the Division:
Most of the open records requests show that many producers file open records requests with the Division just so they can see who got their own product. Because Iowa’s three-tier system separates producers from retailers, with the Division in the middle, producers lack any way of finding out where their product is ending up. I would think that this information would be made available as a matter of right to producers without the hassle of having to go through an open records request, but apparently not. This strikes me as yet another example where government is not a good stand-in for private enterprise. Distilleries having to make open records requests for their own products include Werner Distillery asking about its own Holstein Coconut Rum and Single Barrel Sippin’ Rum, Minnesota-based Panther Distillery asking about its own products, and Cedar Ridge and Scott Bush of Templeton Rye asking for their own product sales information.
One exception is Dehner Distilling. Mr. Dehner asked for sales information for Everclear, Hawkeye Vodka, Absolut Vodka, Grey Goose Vodka, and Paramount rums. There are a couple of other similar requests by individuals with no apparent connection to the spirits business, including a Des Moines Register reporter.
I personally think that publishing this list is cheeky on behalf of the Division. That said, I see that the Division provides the requested information by e-mail and free of charge. I also cannot say with any certainty that for those states where there is no similar three-tier system that a privately owned distributor would be any better at providing independent producers with any sales information since they would not share common ownership. It is quite possible that they would not, for fear that he producer might take the list and switch distributors.
I also learned that it is not possible to gain access to any information on distilleries on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau website other than their standard list of permit holders. There is only this simple list:
I have excerpted an edited list of distilleries with Iowa permits and pasted it above. I removed several distilleries that are actually ethanol plants. The Archer Daniel Midlands and Cargill plants do generate alcohol that may have a food use, so that may be why they are included. There are several I’ve not heard of yet, including Paradise, Honey Creek, 3-Oaks, and Artisan Grain. They are all in the eastern part of the state.