TRENTON, NJ - Legislation co-sponsored by state Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman to allow dogs in New Jersey breweries has passed the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

“One of the biggest challenges any small business owner will face is increasing foot traffic. Our bill will increase foot AND paw traffic for local breweries,” Senator Bateman (R-16) said. “Breweries are more than brick and mortar and steel tanks – they are hopping hang out spots where people can get together, hoist a pint, and make new memories. Allowing man’s best friend to come along will make those memories even better. My daughter just adopted a new puppy. I hope this bill will pass quickly, so we can go support our local brewery together, with Sydney in tow.”

The owners of Village Brewing Co. on Main Street Somerville, just a short walk from Bateman's legislative office on Warren Street, are scheduled to open their facility soon. 

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The senators’ legislation would permit dogs in the sampling and tasting areas of New Jersey breweries, including indoor-only establishments.

“Across New Jersey, craft breweries are on the rise. We know how popular these destinations have become, even in smaller communities,” said Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23), the other co-sponsor. “If we want to keep entrepreneurs here, we have to get rid of regulations that discourage them from planting roots in the Garden State. Allowing dogs is something our microbrewery owners have said will help their industry continue to grow and thrive.”

Breweries are especially popular destinations for millennial customers. Unfortunately, a July 2017 report by McKinsey & Company found that middle and high-skill millennials are the most likely to leave New Jersey, with 85 percent of those leaving in 2015 ranging in age from 18 to 35., according to Bateman. Millennials currently spend more than $1,285 per year on their pets. That amounts to more than $67 billion annually in pet-care spending.

To prevent contamination teh Bateman/Doherty bill would allow dogs to be present in areas of licensed microbreweries where brewed products are consumed. Dogs would not be permitted in areas where items produced for consumption might be contaminated. Dogs would also be prohibited from areas where they risk contaminating clean equipment, glassware, or related articles in the area designated for the consumption of brewed products.

Under the bill, areas where dogs are present would be required to be kept in a clean condition. Any messes or accidents must be promptly cleaned and sanitized. Additionally, 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.