Local brewery: Dogs no longer allowed in taproom - | WBTV Charlotte

Local brewery: Dogs no longer allowed in taproom

Barny, the Harveys Brewery dog has a sniff of a pint of beer at the Great British Beer Festival, at Olympia in London, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) Barny, the Harveys Brewery dog has a sniff of a pint of beer at the Great British Beer Festival, at Olympia in London, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A local brewery is breaking some bad news to many dog lovers: pets are no longer allowed inside the taproom, citing codes from the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Many local breweries have gained the attention and business of families who enjoy spending time in the taprooms and patios with their entire families - including man's best friend.

But that won't be allowed anymore at Three Spirits Brewery according to a Facebook post by the business late last week.

"We had a visit yesterday by the Charlotte Health Department and were told that there is a statute stating that dogs cannot be allowed in brewery taprooms," the company posted on Friday. "Therefore, effectively immediately, we will not be able to allow dogs in the taproom of our brewery."

The company says dogs will still be allowed on the patio, just not in the taproom.

"We love dogs. Most of us have dogs. I am truly sorry if this changes your interest in our brewery or tap room," the message on Facebook continued. "We have been dog-friendly since we opened, and if we felt there was a way to keep things the way they are, we would. This is not something we want to do, but it is something that has to happen."

"We hope everyone can understand where we are coming from," the post stated. "We still love your dogs, but from now on, they will have to stay on the patio when you come to visit us at Three Spirits."

The Mecklenburg County Health Department says the health code isn't new, saying animals have always been restricted from the dining areas of food establishments.

"Current rules are actually a little more lenient as they allow dogs and cats in outdoor dining," an official from the health department said.

According to the health department, inspectors went out on Thursday to investigate a complaint about dogs on the premises of Three Spirits Brewery and said inspectors advised management of the rules.

"We want people to enjoy their pets but they have to do it in a legal way,” said Lynn Lathan, with the Mecklenburg County Healthy Department.

Lathan said establishments with a food service permit aren’t allowed to have pets inside unless it’s an approved service animal.

Many breweries in the area don’t cook or prepare food inside. Instead, food trucks or delivered food options are available to patrons.

Health officials say the type of glasses and utensils used can dictate whether an establishment needs a food service permit.

“The reason why facilities that only do the multi-use glassware are under permit is because you can spread disease through glassware,” Lathan said.

Per North Carolina Food Code, food establishments are not allowed to have animals on the premises, including dining areas, unless they are service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

"If a brewery has a food establishment permit, and both Three Spirits and NODA brewery do, they are subject to this restriction," health department officials said. "Some food establishments and bars have North Carolina ABC private club mixed beverage permits and by Statute are exempt from the rules and therefore the restriction would not apply to them."

Health officials outlined a specific condition in the health code in which dogs and cats are not restricted from an outdoor dining area of a food establishment.

(B)    Live animals are allowed in the following situations if the owner or operator does not permit animals to physically contact food, serving dishes, utensils, tableware, linens, unwrapped single-service and single-use articles or other food service items that may result in contamination of food or food-contact surfaces and does not permit animals to physically contact employees engaged in the preparation or handling of food:
(1)    Fish or crustacea in aquariums or display tanks;
(2)    Patrol dogs accompanying police or security officers in offices and dining, sales, and storage areas; and sentry dogs in outside fenced areas;
(3)    Service animals accompanying persons with disabilities in areas that are not used for food preparation;
(4)    Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and cats (Felis catus) in outdoor dining areas; provided that dogs and cats are physically restrained, and do not pass through any indoor areas of the food establishment.  Except for service animals described in Subparagraph (3) of this Paragraph, nothing in this Rule prohibits a food establishment from prohibiting dogs and cats in outdoor dining areas; and
(5)    In areas that are not used for food preparation, storage, sales, display, or dining, in which there are caged animals or animals that are similarly confined, such as in a variety store that sells pets or a tourist park that displays animals.

The owner of Three Sprits Brewery, Tabu Terrell, told WBTV he was not aware that his business had a food service permit. He said last week’s visit from the health department was the first time he had ever been told he could not have animals inside.

Terrell said he’s tried to create a comfortable atmosphere for families and their pets.

“Part of that comfort is being able to be here with your whole family, and some people’s family members include four-legged friends,” Terrell said.

Some dog owners told WBTV they took their pooch to the breweries at least once a week.

“I think it’s a big attraction to living in South End and especially when you’ve got a dog, to bring him out to the breweries,” said Brian Hartog.

According to Terrell, dogs will still be allowed outside on a patio.

Health officials said there are no known plans to do sweeps of area breweries, but said they would check for compliance during inspections and when following up on complaints.

Terrell said he believes breweries should be classified differently than restaurants.

Some establishments, like The Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, are permitted as animal confinement facilities. Those places can have animals and do not prepare food or use reusable glassware, health officials said.

This database can be used to check for permits by the health department in Mecklenburg County.

According to the database, the following breweries in Charlotte have a food service permit, are classified as a restaurant, and subject to the restrictions:

  • Birdsong Brewing Company
  • Blue Blaze Brewing Company
  • Free Range Brewing Company
  • Heist Brewery
  • Legion Brewing
  • Lenny Boy Brewing Company
  • NODA Brewing Company
  • Olde Mecklenburg Brewing Company
  • Red Clay Cider Works
  • Sugar Creek Brewing Company
  • Sycamore Brewing Company
  • Thirsty Nomad Brewing Company
  • Three Sprits Brewery
  • Triple C Brewing Company
  • Unknown Brewing Company
  • Wooden Robot Brewery

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