The always-debated legal drinking age has some loopholes in Iowa.

For a lot of us, turning 21 meant getting (legally, anyways) bent off of margaritas or whatever your booze of choice was when you were young and had no inhibitions.

That much hasn't changed. According to the CDC, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. The age to buy alcohol is 21. We all know this and likely we had a drink at some point before we were 21. Is it a good idea? Still, no.


In Iowa, 21 is still the minimum age to buy booze and to have a drink at a bar. Obviously. But there are legal ways in the state that allow for minors to drink.

The Penalties You Could Face In Iowa

Before we get into the loophole that makes it legal, there are Iowa laws in place that could slap you with a misdemeanor if you're caught trying to buy alcohol with a fake ID, even just having booze if you're underage, and also drinking it. It could range from a simple misdemeanor to a $500 fine. 

And of course, you're in deep if you're the adult who bought or sold the booze to the kids. If you did either of those and there was some kind of incident, like drunk driving, you could face a Class D felony.


How Minors Can Drink In Iowa

Illinois has a very specific requirement of minors under 21 to drink and Iowa has several stipulations too.

  • Religious Reasons. So if it's taking the wine at church or part of a religious ceremony.
  • If your fam is fine with it and you're all at home. A minor is legally allowed to drink if it's at home while their parents are home with them and consent to it.
  • Medical Reasons. This isn't a shot of Fireball because your nose is stuffy, it's only okay if it's signed off on by a physician or dentist.
  • It's for work. If a minor works at a restaurant and has to buy booze for the restaurant, it's fine but they can't drink it.

Another often used loophole are minors in culinary school that are required to try small amounts of alcohol for dishes and pairings. I couldn't find anything in Iowa law that explicitly denied or confirmed that loophole but nationally, it's a common one.

It's not a good idea to drink under 21 (besides the fact that it's illegal) for a myriad of reasons but also because you aren't old enough to have a good grasp on how to handle yourself after a few drinks. Of course, no matter how old you are, don't drive anywhere after you've had a few too many. Crash on your parents' couch.

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