Two Portland breweries ban dogs in tasting rooms

Peter Bissell inside Bissell Brothers’ tasting room, soon to be dog free.

As of May 1, beer lovers looking to wet their whistles at two of Portland’s hottest breweries have to leave Fido at home. Bissell Brothers and Rising Tide Brewing Company recently announced their tasting rooms are no longer dog friendly.

Citing “scary dog interactions” and “months of incidents and observations” owners took to Facebook to spread the word: no paws allowed.

On Wednesday Rising Tide’s owners posted this message on Facebook: “We are dog lovers, and we have hired a staff of dog lovers; that’s baked into the DNA of Rising Tide. But we’ve reached a point where our inside space is often crowded and scary dog interactions and close calls seem to be occurring more often recently. And so we’ve made this very tough decision to reduce the risk that something very bad may happen.”

Last week, Thompson’s Point cult brewery Bissell Brothers told its Facebook followers“We love pooches just as much as we always have, but a multitude of very legitimate health, safety, and legal realities have brought us to this conclusion. Thanks for understanding!” 

Dogs roaming around taprooms is a violation of the city’s health code, yet reports of mutts gone wild in these beer oases have not surfaced.

“We have not received any complaints of dogs in these spots and have not witnessed it during routine health inspections,” said Portland’s Director of Communications Jessica Grondin. “We do not just go out looking for dog violations.”

Those in the industry applauded the pro-active move, especially with summer on the horizon.

“With the increase in foot (and paw) traffic that will come in the coming months, the difficult decision to keep dogs away from the tasting rooms is an effort to eliminate potential issues,” said Don Littlefield, general manager of The Maine Brew Bus. “I can certainly see the safety issue as so many people are crammed into these tasting rooms. Having a multitude of dogs in the mix can create mayhem.”

One bright note: Rising Tide will allow “well-behaved, leashed dogs” on its expanding East Bayside patio, Bissell Brothers will not. No word from Sea Dog down the road in SoPo.


Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.