HACKENSACK, NJ - Local and state officials have partnered with The Alementary Brewing Co. to support a bill that would allow patrons in breweries across the state to enjoy a cold beer alongside their furry friends.
Though the state Senate passed a bill in December to make it legal for pooches to join their owners at breweries, the Assembly has yet to vote on it.
This week, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle (Bergen) and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (Bergen), signed on as co-sponsors of Assembly bill A-4264 to help build momentum for the measure.
The bill - which was initially sponsored by Assemblyman Roy Freiman (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) - would allow dogs in the sampling and tasting areas of breweries, including those that are indoor-only.
It would ban dogs from areas where beer consumption might be contaminated and locations where they risk contaminating equipment or glassware. Additionally, brewery staff would be prohibited from directly touching the dogs while on duty and would be required to immediately wash their hands should they touch a pooch.
Officials have said the measure was inspired by brewery owners who believe being dog-friendly makes for good business. In New Jersey, brewery businesses are on the rise and have become popular destinations for younger crowds.
There are now more than 100 breweries across the state, which is a 43% increase since 2015, according to a study by research company C+R. Much of the growth can likely be attributed to a 2012 law allowing smaller breweries to increase production from 3,00 barrels a year to 10,000 and allowing patrons to drink on site, as long as they toured the brewery.
“Breweries can help attract new residents and businesses to our community and reinvigorate our commercial centers,” said Johnson. “It should be up to the owners of these businesses whether they want to allow dogs or not, and with this bill we will be granting that choice to the entrepreneurs themselves.”
Craft brewing is fast becoming a growth industry in our state and we should be working to support these exciting businesses, not put unnecessary obstacles in their way,” said Vainieri-Huttle. “This common sense legislation will help attract more customers to local breweries and support the revitalization of cities like Hackensack.”
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse, as well The Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack, are also advocating for the bill.
The push comes on the heels of an announcement in June by Alementary that the city’s health department told them they’d no longer be able to permit dogs in its brewery or in the outdoor biergarten.
Since opening 2016, the Voorhis Lane business has established itself as one of the leaders in New Jersey’s rapidly growing craft beer scene, as well as a dog-friendly establishment.
In response, Labrosse sought out Johnson and Vainieri-Huttle and asked if they could support the bill, while Alementary urged patrons to contact local legislators about the measure.
“We want our customers to have the best possible experience when they come visit us, and as dog lovers ourselves inviting them to bring their pets along for the experience seems like a natural fit,” said Michael Roosevelt, Co-owner and Chief Scientist at Alementary. “I would like to thank Mayor Labrosse, Assemblywoman Vaineri-Huttle and Assemblyman Johnson for standing up for the craft beer industry by supporting this bill and I’m hopeful that we will soon see it signed into law.”
“Entrepreneurs like the team at Alementary are breathing new life into cities like Hackensack and bringing people together to enjoy good beer and great company, and I can see no reason why these businesses should be prohibited from allowing customers to bring their dogs with them,” said Mayor Labrosse. “I’m proud that our city is home to two great breweries and I thank our legislators for working to help them succeed by removing this unnecessary regulation.”