Industry News

Inglewood microbrewery told no more hair of the dog

Brewery owner says he’s working on a compromise after AHS said pets were not allowed inside

Inglewood microbrewery told no more hair of the dog

A local microbrewery has been letting patrons BYOD — Bring Your Own Dog — into its beer tasting room, but was told recently by Alberta Health Services to stop the practice.

Since opening about three months ago, Inglewood’s Cold Garden Beverage Company had become a popular, pet-friendly hangout, welcoming people in for a cold one with their canines at their side.

 

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“It was well received by everyone rolling by. The whole function was for people to fill your growler and bring your kids and dogs,” Dan Allard, co-owner told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.

The microbrewery then expanded its offerings, allowing people to stay and taste beer samples. “Everyone latched onto it.”

Initially, Allard says AHS didn’t seem to care about the dogs being on the premises, because the establishment was in a “grey area,” and it wasn’t a “food-permitted facility.”

The only food around were snacks like bags of potato chips, required by the Alberta Gaming Licence Commission when an establishment serves alcohol.

As Cold Garden’s popularity grew, people started bringing in take-out food from neighbouring restaurants. Allard believes AHS found out through a complaint and that’s when the brewery was told no more dogs inside while AHS assessed the situation.

‘Old, archaic rules’

“The nice thing is, individually, everyone that’s dealt with us in those regulatory bodies, they love the concept and want to see it move in that direction, but they have to enforce these old, archaic rules,” says Allard.

Allard is in the process of making a proposal that includes a “waiver of regulation” to the AHS that can work for both parties. He wants to label the brewery a non-food preparation area. The beer is prepared in the back of the facility, but dogs don’t go there.

In a statement, AHS explained the decision:

“Cold Garden brewery was not originally a food-permitted facility. Because the scope of its operations have changed/expanded from what was originally approved by AHS and the City of Calgary, it is now considered an operation requiring a food permit, and therefore, the allowance for any live animal must be approved by AHS.”

But Allard says there are already precedents in Calgary for this type of business.

Locally, the Regal Cat Cafe in Kensington will allow cats once it opens. It has approval for food to be prepared in a separate building next door and brought in and consumed in the area where the cats will hang out.

Allard points to several American cities that have recently adopted BYOD policies in cities like San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz. The practice has been common in European countries like France and Germany for decades.

Until Cold Garden finds a solution with AHS, dog-owning customers will have to hitch their dogs outside.

Here is the Statement from the AHS:

To be clear: the rules have not changed.
Food-permitted facilities in Alberta require AHS approval to permit live animals.
Cold Garden brewery was not originally a food-permitted facility. Because the scope of its operations have changed/expanded from what was originally approved by AHS and the City of Calgary, it is now considered an operation requiring a food permit, and therefore, the allowance for any live animal must be approved by AHS.
According to AHS…there are food-permitted facilities in Alberta to whom AHS has granted allowance for live animals, under specific conditions.
AHS has the authority to grant this approval, under the Public Health Act, Food Regulation.
Here is that specific wording in the Regulation, for your reference.
Alberta’s Food Regulation (under the Public Health Act) states the following w/regard to animals in food facilities:
Live animals:
32 A live animal must not be permitted in a food area, except:
(a) a service animal to the extent that the law gives service animal handlers rights with respect to that food area,
(b) an animal that is in an abattoir in accordance with the meat inspection legislation, or
(c) another animal that the executive officer determines will pose no risk of the occurrence of a nuisance in the commercial food establishment and whose presence that officer specifically authorizes.
Alberta Health Services enforces the Food Regulation, to protect public health. In this context, it is our duty to ensure the presence of live animals in a commercial food establishment must not pose risk to health.
Any operator of a food permitted facility who wishes to have the allowance for a live animal considered under subsection c) of Food Reg. Section 32 (ABOVE), must submit a request in writing, to Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health.

The written request must clearly identify and detail all control measures that would be employed to minimize potential health hazards or adverse incidents related to the proposed presence of live animals in the food facility.
Each written application is assessed individually, based on risk to public health, and the extent to which those risks can be mitigated to full satisfaction of AHS, and the legislation.

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