State regulators are trying to decide how best to regulate the high alcohol content Everclear that became a target after a student at Drake University nearly died from alcohol poisoning linked to the beverage. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages commission held public hearings on the issue after the Drake incident. Commissioner Jim Clayton is an Iowa City businessman, who says it’s important to let young people know the danger.
Clayton says the education “is to keep them from kilning themselves.” He says buying a bottle of Everclear is the equivalent of buying two bottles of something else. Clayton says they’re especially warning youth about the dangers of using the 150-proof drink as a shortcut to a high.
Clayton says when you have one shot of Everclear, it’s like two shots of something else. He says you do get to a buzz faster, but “you get there so fast that your mind and body cannot respond and say whoa.” Along with the education effort, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission is eliminating the half-gallon and small Everclear bottles, and is considering registering names of those buying it.
Clayton says it’s a possibility Everclear could be put behind the shelf and you would have to show an I-D and register to buy it. “When you show your I-D and it’s recorded in a book, if it goes to a party and it’s underage, and somebody dies, guess what — there’ll be a paper trail and some consequences,” Clayton explains. Clayton says other controls may be used.
Clayton says they are considering changing the tax structure, which would raise the cost of high proof alcohol. He says when the price goes up, consumption goes down. But Clayton says it’s a complicated thing to do with Iowa’s tax structure. The commission has said it won’t ban Everclear at this point as long as the new steps seem to handle the problems.