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Breweries and Distilleries: How to Avoid Some Hairy Situations When Dogs Come to Visit

By July 1, 2023October 30th, 2023Insurance

Today more than ever, our furry best friends are taking their seats next to us for rides in the car, trips on airplanes – and drinks on the patio at the local craft brewery. As a brewpub operator, be sure you review and understand state and local regulations regarding food service establishments and animals.

The truth is, while allowing patrons to bring their dogs can be great for public relations, accepting dogs on your premises comes with considerable responsibility and liability questions.

First and foremost, make sure you know the rules in your area. For example, the Ohio Revised Code allows dogs on the patio and in outdoor spaces at the brewery, but not inside the taproom.  Some states have stated 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.

With few exceptions, most states do not allow dogs inside food premises, and recent legislative changes are becoming more restrictive. 

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. We recommend that you post signage stating the rules regarding dogs in an easily visible location.

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 your brewery patio, we recommend that you consider the potential risks and speak with your insurance agent to make sure all liability concerns are addressed.


Choosing the right insurance agent is one of the most important decisions you will make. The Turner Agency, Inc. is a local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, and we specialize in meeting the insurance needs of brewers, wineries, and distillers.

We understand the risks you face and offer custom insurance solutions that include General and Liquor Liability, Commercial Property and Auto, Worker’s Comp, Equipment Breakdown, Spoilage/Product Recall/Product Contamination, Tank Collapse and/or Leakage, and more.

Email Trevor Painter or call 864-400-3523 for a free review of your coverage.

This loss control information is advisory only and is provided by our partner, The Cincinnati Insurance Company. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. Please consult with your attorney about your specific situation.