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Senator Doherty introduces legislation to allow dogs at microbreweries

NEW JERSEY – People who want to enjoy a beer at a microbrewery while hanging out with their dog might get the chance.

Senator Mike Doherty (R-23), who represents parts of Warren, Sussex and Morris Counties, has introduced legislation that would allow dogs to accompany their owners during tastings at microbreweries.

“New Jersey’s microbrewing industry is growing at a rapid pace, but it needs our support to continue expanding,” said Doherty. “We’ve heard from brew pub operators that many customers who stop in for a tasting have their dogs in tow, which creates conflict with public health officials who don’t like pets in establishments where food or drink is consumed. It’s possible to meet the demands of customers without sacrificing the cleanliness we expect when we visit our microbreweries.”

In April, the Warren County Health Department visited Czig Meister Brewing, located in Hackettstown, after receiving a complaint concerning animals at their establishment. Dogs or any other animals are not allowed inside the brewery according to New Jersey Administrative Code 8:24.

“We will be doing everything in our power to change this state law, and we hope you will join us in the fight,” according to a post back in April on Czig Meister’s Facebook page.

“People enjoy having a place they can bring their pets, whether they be dogs, rabbits, and even the occasional parrot. We are animal lovers at the brewery, and even have an in-house brew dog, Freya, that will be impacted by this change,” the post said.

“Change can begin by engaging with any and all government representatives. Remember, this is not only an issue local to our brewery – this is a statewide issue so even if you don’t live in Warren County, you can help! We ask that the state lawmakers review the current law and take into consideration that there is a major difference between what “retail food establishments” do and what breweries do. It’s time to contact your local Mayors, Freeholders, Legislators, Assemblymen, Senators, State Representatives, and Congressmen,” the post said.

Doherty said his legislation would allow dogs to be present in areas of licensed microbreweries where brewed products are consumed, but not in areas where items produced for consumption might be contaminated.

Similarly, dogs would be prohibited from areas where they risk contaminating clean equipment, glassware, or related articles in the area designated for the consumption of brewed products.

Areas where dogs are present would be required to be kept in a clean condition, with any messes promptly cleaned and sanitized.

Further, staff members would not be permitted to have direct contact with dogs while on duty, and would be required to immediately wash their hands should direct contact occur.

“As microbrewing has grown nationwide, a number of states have begun to address the challenge of how to handle the dogs that are frequently brought to taprooms,” Doherty added. “We can be among the leaders in addressing this issue in a way that’s good for customers, good for business, and good for public health.”

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook