If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, please visit Your Life Iowa or you can call (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398

I want to start by saying that in no way is this piece an attempt to glorify or promote underage drinking, or drinking in general. I did some digging, and I found Iowa, and most other states, are fairly relaxed when it comes to minors drinking in certain circumstances.

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Before we dig in, the law in the U.S. states no one under 21 years of age can drink alcohol. It seems pretty cut and dry. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) even states on its website:

After all states adopted an age 21 MLDA, drinking during the previous month among persons aged 18 to 20 years declined from 59% in 1985 to 40% in 1991.

They also tout the positive economic impact of persons under 21 not being allowed to consume alcohol. However, despite this being a national law since the 1980s, each state still has some control over what persons 20 or younger can legally do when it comes to alcohol.

Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash
Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

Iowa underage drinking exceptions

Is there any exception to the law of 21+ for drinking at a bar or restaurant? Nope. You can't go to your favorite waterin' hole after a tough day of junior year high school English. And, I think we can all agree that is a GOOD thing.

So when can minors legally drink in the Hawkeye State? According to Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS), persons under 21 may drink at a private residence, AND with a parent/guardian.

No, you cannot head into Hy-Vee Win & Spirits with dear old dad and grab a case of beer if you're under 21, but you can drink the beer at home and with mom, dad or a legal guardian.

That means no wild house parties when the folks are away. It means, under supervision, the police aren't going to come to your home, knock down your door and arrest you for having a glass of wine with dinner.

Other Midwestern states

Iowa's neighbors have different laws. In Missouri, there's NO underage drinking allowed. With or without your parents.

In Illinois, your parent/guardian must be present. The same goes for Minnesota and Nebraska. In Wisconsin, if a minor is married to someone 21+, they can drink together, despite one being underage.

Regardless of age, drink safe!

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, please visit Your Life Iowa or you can call (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398

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