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South Dakota's Cupcake Wars

Many South Dakota bakeries and restaurants are currently breaking the law by selling "adulterated" desserts that contain alcohol. (npr.org)
Many South Dakota bakeries and restaurants are currently breaking the law by selling "adulterated" desserts that contain alcohol. (npr.org)
February 27, 2018

PIERRE, S.D. – A Sioux Falls cupcake maker is waiting to learn this week if South Dakota lawmakers will approve a bill that would allow her to reopen her bakery.

Holly Boltjes launched "Intoxibakes" last year, but closed after receiving notice that she was breaking the law by selling cupcakes with alcohol in the batter and the frosting.

She's not alone. Boltjes says right now, some restaurants across the state that sell booze-infused deserts are also breaking the decades-old law designed to protect consumers from "adulterated" food.

"This is not just an Intoxibakes issue, this affects all the restaurants in South Dakota, any bakery that uses alcohol in their frosting or anything like that," she warns. "So it does bake out, but the law reads that you can't put alcohol into a food or it's considered adulterated."

Boltjes received some help from Sioux Falls city councilor, Christine Erickson, a former state legislator, who got a colleague to introduce Senate Bill 169 last week to amend the law. It passed with an emergency clause and could take effect immediately if approved by the House and signed by the governor.

Intoxibakes uses only two teaspoons of alcohol per one dozen cupcakes, but that was enough for the bakery to receive notice that it was unintentionally breaking the law.

Councilor Erickson says the amended law would legalize alcohol in candies or confections up to 0.5 percent by weight.

"If you look back at the South Dakota law, it's from 1939. It was from the time of prohibition, so really, the intent was to make sure that you don't sneak something in that's going to be super harmful and cause death," Erickson explains.

Erickson says the proposed South Dakota law would be similar to the laws in neighboring states, including Iowa and Minnesota.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD