Folks love their furry friends, but what can their presence at your brewery mean for your business?
Now more than ever, we’re used to seeing dogs accompany their owners to a variety of places. From rides on the bus or plane to drinks at the local brewery patio, four-legged friends are gaining wider acceptance in stores or restaurants. And, while it can be a great move for public relations and brand perception, it can also come with a host of guidelines and insurance information to review.
When it comes to laws around dogs in breweries, operators should be sure to understand state and local regulations regarding food service establishments and animals. Sometimes, accepting dogs onto the premises comes with considerable responsibility and liability questions. With the help of The Cincinnati Insurance Companies, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering if or where to allow four-legged companions:
KNOW THE RULES
Make sure you know the rules in your area and are aware of any laws around dogs in breweries. For example, the Ohio Revised Code allows dogs on the patio and in outdoor spaces at the brewery, but not inside the taproom. States such as North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado are clarifying that breweries are food establishments and are cracking down on dogs in the taproom.
Remember that there are likely exceptions for guide dogs and other certified service animals, so consult your legal adviser for regulations that apply in your area.
DOGS INSIDE THE TAPROOM
With few exceptions, most states do not allow dogs inside food premises, and recent legislative changes are becoming more restrictive. From Charlotte, North Carolina, to Denver, Colorado, cities and states are enacting legislation to crack down on allowing dogs inside the brewery.
DOGS ON THE PATIO
As states clarify “no dogs inside the brewery” policies, many are affirming dogs are allowed in outdoor areas and patios, subject to food sanitation rules. Post signage stating the rules regarding dogs in an easily visible location.
FACTORS THAT MERIT ATTENTION
Here are questions to consider before you allow dogs in your establishment:
- Will you allow dogs during peak hours or special events?
- What leash rules will you have? Should you ban retractable leashes? Will you ask patrons not to secure leashes to furniture?
- How will you communicate the owner’s responsibility for cleaning up dog waste?
- How will you provide water to the dogs?
- How will you handle employee hygiene?
- What areas of the establishment are off-limits to dogs and how will you communicate this?
- How will your staff deal with a bite to a human or another dog? What incident documentation will you require?
- Will you train employees to recognize aggressive dog behaviors?
Before you allow dogs on the brewery patio, consider the laws around dogs in breweries, evaluate potential risks, and speak with your insurance agent to make sure all liability concerns are addressed. We invite you to contact the Feltner Group or reach out to Feltner Brew to discuss your unique situation and get our guidance on insurance considerations.