*Please keep in mind that this is information is specific to North Carolina law. Contact an attorney in your state to find out specific information about this.
A couple of weeks ago one of our clients who owns a brewery in NC informed us that the ALE was cracking down on dogs in the brewery’s taproom. ALE agents said that dogs are not permitted in the brewery’s taproom because of health codes. We were surprised; Beer Law Center is very dog friendly, and we LOVE our dogs.
We decided to investigate and here’s what we found.
At numerous NC breweries health inspectors repeatedly stated that dogs were not allowed inside the taproom of a brewery based on state law. The N.C. rule (15A NCAC 18A.2656) does not allow dogs or cats from entering food service establishments. Even if the brewery does not serve food, the rule is based on the type of sinks that breweries use to wash the glassware. Breweries wash, rinse, and sanitize multi-use glassware, and that makes the brewery a food service establishment.
Service animals are an exception to the NC rule.
The rule, 15A NCAC 18A.2656(3), reads:
“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:
- Fish or crustacea in aquariums or display tanks;
- Patrol dogs accompanying police or security officers in offices and dining, sales and storage areas; and sentry dogs in outside fenced gates;
- Service animals accompanying persons with disabilities in areas that are not used for food preparation;
- Dogs and cats in outdoor dining areas; and
- In areas that are not used for food preparation, storage, sales, display, or dining.