Should You Bring Your Dog to Breweries?

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Brewery Dog

Those who know me know how much I love my dog. Butters T. Doggie is my very good buddy — a “Yes, he is. Yes, he izzzz … Who’s my good buddy?” (Sorry, I get carried away.)

As much as I love enjoying a craft beer or two with my best furry pal, I do not take him with me to visit breweries. Why? Not because I worry he might bite someone (he’s blind, so he’d probably whiff badly). It is because as much as he enjoys being with us, he really does not want to be at the brewery. Loud noises, weird smells and an excess of people are not high on the pooch’s list. I feel he’s safer and far happier at home.

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Dogs and craft beer are huge parts of many lives; a pint glass and a leash go hand in hand (literally).

There are many breweries that allow dogs, perhaps not in the taproom, but surely on a patio. Dogs and craft beer are huge parts of many lives; a pint glass and a leash go hand in hand (literally). But as much as breweries are accommodating to our furry companions, from a business perspective, it carries risk. Such is the case with South Carolina’s Holy City Brewing, who announced on their Facebook page that they will no longer allow dogs at the tap room.

“Some not-so-great news for dog owners at Holy City Brewing. Effectively immediately, we will not allow dogs at the brewery,” writes Chris Brown, owner/brewer. “Over the past six months we have had employees bit five different times by dogs visiting the brewery,” continues Brown. “The latest incident, which occurred last week, consisted of a guest’s dog biting one of our bartenders in the face. I have to look out for my staff.”

Fan comments on the news have been supportive because it’s hard to argue with, “My bartender got bit in the face,” though I’m sure there will be a tough transition as patrons arrive with their dogs and learn about the new policy. In Colorado, breweries in the city of Denver were forced to issue no dog policies as the city strengthened its stance on not allowing dogs in establishments.

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One can call themselves a responsible dog owner or a dog-friendly establishment, but the risk to customers and dogs abound. Leashes tethered to tables while servers carry trays, broken glass, free popcorn, or an unsupervised child (a whole other can of worms) sneaking up on a dog out of his element is just a few of the cringe-worthy scenarios that I have witnessed.

I realize posing the question, “Should you bring your dog to a brewery?” will elicit passionate responses on both sides of the question. Dogs are the best company, often better than any human company, but a crowded taproom or burning hot patio might not be the place for Fido, even with best intentions or calculated assumptions, one really cannot be sure. Unknown stress to your furry pal and the potential for a lawsuit or serious injuries makes this a tough question to consider whether you’re a brewery faced with having to change a policy or a pet owner.

Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association's acting editor-in-chief for Andy is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Westminster, Colorado where he is an avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.