Drinking with dogs: You can do it (legally) inside just 1 Minnesota taproom

More breweries could start to do this in the future.

Many breweries in Minnesota are already dog-friendly. But there's only one brewery that can allow dogs inside its taproom legally.

Lakes & Legends Brewing in Minneapolis is the first brewery in the state to apply for and be granted permission to let man's/woman's best friend hang out in the taproom, Ethan Applen of Lakes & Legends told GoMN.

How did this happen?

This recent change came after a push from local dog owners. has made dogs in the taproom OK – if the brewery gets what's called a variance. (We've got more on this below.)

Applen was among those pushing for the change, with the help of Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman.

To celebrate, Lakes & Legends is hosting a "yappy hour" on Thursday starting at 4 p.m. And on June 4 from 1-4 p.m.,Dogs of MSP is hosting an event at the brewery – $1 from every Great Wit North sold that day will go to charity.

I'm pretty sure I've seen dogs inside a taproom before ...

There's a pretty good chance you've seen a dog inside a Minnesota taproom, but technically that's illegal.

State law prohibits live animals from being in a food establishment or brewery. Under the state food code, water is considered food – and because beer is made of mostly water, beer is food by default. There are some exceptions, like for service animals.

Variances allow some establishments to allow pets in certain areas – Minneapolis passed one to allow dogs in outdoor areas in 2008, city documents show. And now Minneapolis is the first city in the state to offer a variance to allow canines inside some establishments, the Star Tribune notes.

This variance allows dogs in taprooms, coffee houses and possibly some other establishments in the future, so long as they follow a few basic rules. Among them, according to Sidewalk Dog:

  • employees can't pet the dogs;
  • dogs are on a leash;
  • dogs can't go up on the furniture;
  • dogs deemed dangerous by the city aren't allowed;
  • and dogs don't drink or eat from anything that humans eat/drink from.

Applen said since Lakes & Legends got its variance, several other breweries have already reached out to him. He said that now "the process is in place, it should make it easier for all the breweries to get variances if they want."

The variance was only written for the City of Minneapolis. GoMN has reached out to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for information on whether other cities are looking to do the same.

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