GREENSBORO — Patrons of Joymongers Brewing Co. barked loudly in protest at the news — no more pooches in the taproom.
The brewery recently posted on its Facebook page that it would no longer allow dogs in its taproom after it was served a warning by the Guilford County Health Department for violating a state health code.
It wasn’t clear if outside areas, like Joymongers’ patio, are also affected. The law doesn’t address them.
The county health department could not be reached Friday for comment.
The violation apparently stems from a state health law prohibiting dogs and cats, except for service dogs, in a food service area.
Joymongers does not serve food, but it does serve its beer in glassware that is washed and reused. And therein seems to be where the interpretation is a bit cloudy.
“The state law is not as clear as it needs to be,” said Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips.
Phillips said N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister of Whitsett is working to get better clarity written into the language of the law.
“Since some of our board members have been made aware of this situation, there’s already been significant progress in finding a beneficial solution,” Phillips said.
Dogs have long been a part of the beer and brewery culture and many taprooms around Greensboro have been dog-friendly since opening.
“It will have a definite impact on my business,” said Mark Gibb, owner of Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Co.
Gibb, who has operated a taproom at Gibb’s for four years, said he has never heard of anyone getting sick from a dog being in one.
“The law makes no sense and I’ll be doing everything I can to get it reversed,” he said.
Taprooms that serve brew in disposable cups are exempt from the law.
Keith and Paula Dozier planned for the law when they recently opened The Barking Deck, the Triad’s only indoor dog park and beer pub.
“We knew going in we needed everything to be completely disposable, which exempts us from that,” Paula Dozier said.
The Barking Deck serves canned beer and draft beer in plastic cups.
Phillips doesn’t see a problem with dogs in a taproom.
“We love our animals too,” he said. “Where it makes sense for them to be with us in a public setting, regardless of where that is, we’re all for it.”
While a permanent solution is worked out, Phillips said he feels the county health department will relax the restriction.
“In the end, clearer heads and common sense will prevail,” he said.