Iglauer was born in Ann Arbor and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Wyoming, Ohio. He became interested in the blues during the mid-1960s while attending Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and began hosting a college radio show, then moving on to promoting concerts at Lawrence by Howlin' Wolf and Luther Allison. He came to the attention of Bob Koester, and joined the staff of Delmark Records in Chicago as a shipping clerk in 1970. He was a co-founder of Living Blues magazine in 1970. When Iglauer's advice to sign Hound Dog Taylor & The House Rockers was declined by Delmark, he recorded the group himself, and in so doing created Alligator Records in 1971.
Nine months after the release of the first Alligator Records album, he left Delmark and continued at Alligator, making acclaimed recordings from Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks and many others. A breakthrough came in 1975 with Koko Taylor's "I Got What It Takes", which earned Alligator its first Grammy Award nomination. In 1978, he signed Albert Collins, and in 1982 Clifton Chenier's "I'm Here!" won a Grammy. Recordings on Alligator by Hound Dog Taylor, Fenton Robinson, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Allison, Shemekia Copeland, Roomful of Blues, Marcia Ball, Buckwheat Zydeco and others have been Grammy nominated. Showdown! by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland won a Grammy for Best Blues Recording of 1985 and Buckwheat Zydeco's Lay Your Burden Down won a Grammy for Best Blues Cajun or Zydeco Recording of 2009.
Iglauer has produced or co-produced over 125 albums in the Alligator Records catalog, including albums by Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Fenton Robinson, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, James Cotton, Kenny Neal, Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, Jarekus Singleton, Carey Bell and Billy Boy Arnold.
The Alligator catalog contains over 300 albums, ranging from electric Chicago blues and blues rock to acoustic Piedmont blues and West Coast jump blues. By the 1990s, Alligator was established one of the largest contemporary blues labels in the world.
Chicago magazine honored Iglauer with the 2001 Chicagoan of the Year award. In addition, Iglauer was a founder of the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD, later the Association For Independent Music (AFIM)). He has served on the boards of the Blues Foundation, the Blues Community Foundation (of which he is a founder) and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), which replaced AFIM as the main organization of the U.S. independent music industry. In 2014 A2IM presented Iglauer with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Iglauer has also been presented with two "Keeping The Blues Alive" awards from the Blues Foundation, one as an artist manager and one for his producing. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1997.
Iglauer is married to Jo Kolanda of Mequon, Wisconsin. They have a daughter and two grandchildren, Rachel Beaudry, Hailey Montalbano, and Gabrielle Montalbano, of Glencoe, Illinois, and he has a stepdaughter, Rebekah Beaudry of Mequon, Wisconsin.
- Grammy Winner: 1982 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording Grammy.com. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Grammy Winner: 1985 Best Traditional Blues Recording Grammy.com. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Grammy Winner: 2009 Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album Grammy.com. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Bruce Iglauer Production Credits AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Alligator Records Discography alligator.com. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- "Chicagoans of the Year: Past Honorees" Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Bruce Iglauer's 2014 A2IM Lifetime Achievement Award Speech Archived September 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. a2im.org. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- Blues Hall of Fame Induction blues.org. Retrieved 5 September 2014
- The Alligator story - History of the label at the Alligator site