There were more places than ever to buy alcohol for a New Year’s Eve party in the state.

Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division spokesman, Tyler Ackerson, says the fiscal year that ended in June showed an increase in licenses. “We had almost 17,000 licenses issued throughout the fiscal year, and that’s a new high for us,” Ackerson says. “We also saw more than 21,000 people being trained and certified in the responsible selling of alcohol through the online training program.”

The increase in new liquor licenses was caused primarily by convenience stores. He says the law changed in 2011 to allow convenience stores to sell liquor, and he says that’s where they see the most growth. Convenience stores made up around 50 percent of the class E licenses.

The IABD suspended the licenses of 70 retailers in the last fiscal year. “The overwhelming majority of them are for licensees failing to maintain dram shop insurance,” according to Ackerson. “Whenever there is a lapse in that insurance coverage their license has to be suspended… there’s usually a short-term suspension until they can get that dram shop insurance put back into place.”

He says there are a couple of other issues that would cause a license to be pulled. “Nonpayment of taxes — that would be taxes due to the state — we can suspend the licenses for that reason. The other major category would be danger to the public. Fortunately, we did not have any licenses suspended for that reason this fiscal year,” Ackerson says.

Ackerson says they collected $157,000 in penalties for those who broke the rules while selling or serving of alcohol and. Those violations include things like selling to underage individuals or selling after hours.