Will you go to a brewery if your dog isn’t allowed inside?

Late in 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia had to clarify its position on dogs being allowed at breweries.

The great thing about breweries is how family and pet-friendly they are, adopting an all-welcoming, but not all-serving attitude when it comes to who is allowed to have a good time with patrons. But because the process of baking liquid bread is such a strenuous process of sanitation, both brewers and government regulators stress a freakishly high level of cleanliness, and rightly so.

Public outcry came from craft brewery patrons after the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences clarified that dogs would be disallowed from being in rooms where food or craft beer is served — but excluding separated patios and taprooms.

Some of my best fur friends have been met in the under the outdoor tables of area craft breweries and tap houses. But don’t be surprised if these laws become clarified in Tennessee, too, and signs get posted.

What’s great about one local tap house — and joints like it — is that after a long day’s work of writing stories, I begin thinking about a few things: a delicious and cool artisan-created brew, social situations and spending time with my dogs. I don’t want to ditch my pooch and head out for a beer, so I have the option of bringing him to places that allow all of these things.

 We have great weather in this part of the country, and some venues have outdoor heaters, so we can bring out dogs there for much of the year. We’re all winners when we get to support our local economy by drinking craft beer simultaneously as our dog gets more petting action than the back seat of a college freshman’s hand-me-down Ford Focus. That was the car I drove in college.

My golden-collie mix Windsor loves the attention he gets at the tap house, but he also doesn’t want to mess up the experience of people who want to eat or drink without a side serving of his golden hair, which is at the base of this Commonwealth of Virginia regulation or clarification.

There are several East Tennessee breweries I can think of where the owner or head brewer’s dog is one of the focal points of the business, so much, in fact, that people will turn out to this location of craft beer creation just to see the mascot dog.

From a purely emotional standpoint — I have to admit while recognizing the importance of food and drink regulations — I would much rather go to an establishment that is dog-friendly and welcoming than one that is not.

In a time when we’re seeing Southeast states battling each other to make more accommodating alcohol laws — in an attempt to bring in those big craft booze business dollars — banning dogs altogether from craft breweries and distilleries would be a major step backward for states and commonwealths that might consider stricter regulations than this.

Much to the surprise of people who adamantly oppose craft beer from a very pious perspective, more crime doesn’t hit a city as craft beer moves in. What does move in, is family and dog-friendly crowds, which I date assume are just fun-loving, dollar-spending good people who don’t get into trouble but are the exact people business owners target.

To keep this wonderful combination intact, I beseech readers of this column to do three things. One, frequent all of your area’s craft beer and cider producers. Give them your money and enjoy their carefully considered products. Two, bring your dog with you. They love getting out of the house and meeting new people just like you, but keep them outside where you’ll hang out with them. Three, contact your political representatives and tell them you won’t stand for the banning of dogs at the places you like to go most. Not every dog can be a service dog, but every dog can provide the service of love.

Breweries are a great place for them to go, too.

To those places that disallow dogs altogether, I don’t understand you, but I want your customers to put the pressure on you to stop from banning hu-man’s best friend, which makes your business a much less fun and loving place.

Email Tony Casey at [email protected]. Follow Tony Casey on Twitter @TonyCaseyJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonycaseyjournalist.