Man's best friend meets man's best friend
BY JOHN HOLL
In an age when people try to incorporate so much of the human
experience into their pet's lives – doggie Bat Mitzvahs, feline
weddings, spa days for ferrets – it almost makes sense that several
companies both in the U.S. and abroad now make a "beer" for dogs.
Considering one of the great adult pleasures is enjoying a cold beer
after a long day working in the yard, shouldn't a pooch be able to do
the same after an afternoon of sniffing around, chewing on a shoe and
barking at squirrels?
Of course the products on the market are not actually beer. Like
chocolate and raisins, alcohol can be potentially deadly to canines
and carbonation in beer can cause serious stomach irritation. So the
brews are really just a beverage consisting of malt and meat
On the plus side, this means pups do not have to wait until they turn
three years old (21 in canine years) to get served.
If beer is not your pooch's thing, there are also several canine wine
brands available (Sauvignon Bark, White Sniff ‘N' Tail) and even a
scotch (Johnny Barker Black Lab).
Jenny Brown, the owner of 3 Busy Dogs, a Scottsdale, AZ company which
makes two dog beers – Beefy Brown Ale and Cock A Doodle Brew – said
she got the idea after first making pretzel-flavored dog snacks for
"I thought, what goes best with pretzels and that's how I came up with
the beer idea," said Brown. Since starting the company a few years ago
Brown has seen business boom.
Most that can be found in New Jersey cost around $3.99 for a single 12
oz bottle. Others, like the Happy Tail Ale from Dog Star Brewing, can
be ordered via the Internet for $12.00 per six-pack plus $13.00 added
for shipping and handling.
Brown said that given the recent scare involving tainted pet food from
China, every ingredient in the brews comes from the United States. The
Heartland Brewery in New York periodically makes a Slobber Logger, a
similar dog beer, according to the company, but it will not be
available this summer.
A recent study revealed that while even in times of recession people
are still willing to spend huge amounts on their pets. The feeling,
according to some in the pet industry, is that more people are
sticking closer to home as they try to hold onto their cash, but want
to keep their furry friends entertained in the process.
Veterinarians interviewed by Newjerseynewsroom.com said while it
should never be used as a substitute for water, the brews are a
kitschy but acceptable "sometime" treat.
At first sniff, the Cock-A-Doodle Brew smells vaguely like chicken
soup. The official Newjerseynewsroom.com canine taster quickly lapped
up very last drop and looked up, as if to order another round. Next,
the taste-tester pup moved on to the Beefy Brown Ale, also from 3 Busy
Dogs, but like a responsible drinker she paced herself with the second
The Happy Tail Ale, which comes in actual glass beer bottles with
pry-off caps (the other beer comes in plastic bottles with screw off
tops) did not fare as well on its own in the dish, but was a homerun
as a topper to some dry food
But, as is true with human beer drinkers, not every dog will like every
(For the record, this reporter also tasted each of the dog brews and
will stick to the real stuff, thank you very much. They have a
slightly vinegar-based taste, rather than a savory broth.)
Both 3 Busy Dogs brew and the Happy Tail Ale contain vitamins that the
companies say promote a shiny coat and glucosamine, which can help
ease any pain in a pup's joints.
The best part, of course? No hangovers.
John Holl writes about the craft beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached at email@example.com .
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A Journalist Looks at Beer
|The Beer Briefing
by John Holl