Ames’ liquor marts fined for selling alcohol to underage customers


Ames Police respond to a fire on Aug. 28, 2020.

Katherine Kealey

Four of Ames’ liquor marts failed a compliance check performed by the Ames Police Department on Feb. 11.

El Maguey, La Casa Maya, the Neighborhood Liquor Mart and AJ’s Liquor Mart were fined $796.75 for selling alcohol to an underage individual. Five establishments were checked, and only the Kwik Stop on 6th St. passed.

Whenever a business is cited or found in violation of the liquor laws, their license is looked at by the city and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division. The violations are presented when the businesses are looking to renew liquor licenses. The city council and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division can take action against businesses if they aren’t complying. 

Ames Police Commander Dan Walter said the compliance check was driven by a complaint after someone brought concerns to the department that these businesses were selling to underage individuals. 

During the compliance checks, an underage individual attempts to buy alcohol. If the sales associate asks for identification, the agent presents one that states they are underage. The Ames Police Department sworn officer oversees the process and responds as needed.

“It is important that we do regular check-ins with businesses, and this is only five, but we will sometimes check 30 plus, and there will be more checks to be done,” Walter said. “It is just really important that we ensure businesses are complying with the state law to not sell to individuals under 21.”