It can be a bit of a culture shock.

94.1 KRNA logo
Get our free mobile app

I've lived in Iowa for two years now, and I've loved almost every second of it.

The winters are bitter and the gas station pizza can only keep you warm at night for so long. Okay? Be better, Iowa!

There were quite a few things I had to quickly learn when I made the move from PA to the Hawkeye State, like:

Iowa nice is a real thing!

The weather wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the wind!

And Iowans know how to drink!

The last one definitely threw me for a second. 

I was thinking about probably the biggest culture shock to me when I first moved here: booze. While scrolling on Tik Tok one evening I came across a young woman who had the exact same reaction I did to walking into a shopping center in Iowa for the first time.

Be mindful because this video is not safe for work.



@tressa_amico what’s going on in the Midwest…. #DoritosTriangleTryout #foryo #fypシ #abcstore #liquor #target @Kay Palm ♬ original sound - Tressa Amico


I recall my first visit to Walmart to grab some essentials for my new home. The plan was to grab some food, cutlery, and maybe some toiletries. There was no way that anyone could prepare me for what I was about to see.

Wine and hard liquor was being sold right at the front of the store! There were aisles upon aisles of booze of all types. At the time, I don't recall ever having such a big selection of spirits at my fingertips.

I turned to my mom and we shared the same dumbstruck look.

We most definitely were not in Kansas...I mean Pennsylvania anymore.

Bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages

Eighteen states (IA and PA included) have their alcohol controlled by the state. These states are commonly referred to as alcoholic beverage control states otherwise known as ABC states.

There are some big differences between how these two states really mean by alcohol "control." In Iowa all alcohol and spirits are sold to private businesses by way of the Iowa Beverages Division.

That's why you'll see your favorite adult beverages at grocery stores or even your local Target. My mind was blown when I found out you could just pick up tiny wine coolers from the gas station.

However, where I'm from, getting any sort of booze felt like a major chore.

EVERY SINGLE SPIRIT must be sold in Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stores. Back home, we'd call these the ABC store or State store. PLUS, they were closed on Sundays.

I've only recently started to see grocery stores sell booze in the Keystone State. However, even those are very limited. The beverages must be sold in smaller quantities by certain licensed grocery stores. AND licenses to serve alcohol in restaurants is based on county populations. 


All in all, if you enjoy an adult beverage every now and then, Iowa might just be a more efficient state. I will say it is one of the many perks of living here.

And don't get me started on what happened when I walked through a Hy-Vee for the first time. The staff just puts certain wines right next to food items that they know they will pair well with? BRILLIANT!

Pershing Square Restaurant in NYC

One restaurant in New York City has an interesting connection to one Iowa celebrity. This spot was a filming location for an Iowa adjacent actress.

Fenelon Street Elevator

The steepest and shortest railway is in Dubuque.

More From 94.1 KRNA