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I have a few things I’m passionate about in this world, and some of my top favorites are dogs, and beer. I’ve had the pleasure of working in the brewery industry here in Colorado for years, and even before I was working in this industry, I was a big supporter. I would go to breweries often, and when I got Lucas (my Sarplaninac), I was sure to introduce him early and get him socialized to the environment. 

Lucas taking a nap on Pikes Peak Brewing Co's patio with little Saffi, the Sarplaninac puppy, laying beside him

Start Early

I started taking Lucas to breweries after he was up to date on his shots and house-trained. I wanted to make sure that there would be no accidents inside, and that he wouldn’t be susceptible to catching something and falling ill. I would always recommend consulting your veterinarian to figure out when it’s best to start taking your new puppy to public places, such as dog parks or breweries.

With a desire to socialize my Sarplaninac puppy, I wanted to get him out to the breweries to be able to meet a lot of different people and other dogs. If your dog is not in a working situation, I recommend socializing them early and often to help produce a more balanced dog as an adult. 

If your dog is in fact due to be a working dog, I would consider what you want to socialize them to in order for them to be effective workers. For example, socializing a puppy to a flock early on if they are to be working as livestock guardians. You might want your Sarplaninac to be weary of strangers if you have problems with livestock theft.

Lucas at Joyride Brewing Co in Edgewater, CO

Lucas had been to puppy play early on and began socializing with dogs there. Breweries were another good opportunity to meet other dogs, and introduce him to other people. If you are fortunate enough to have a dog park nearby, those are also a good place to get some socialization for your dog – but a word of caution, there can also be poor dog owners, dog fights, or even the exposure to canine illnesses at dog parks.

Tire Them Out

Part of our routine before going to a brewery or other outing is to get our dog tired. As I have said before,

“A tired dog is a happy dog.”

Whether it’s a hike or a long walk around our neighborhood before heading to our watering hole of choice, I have always noticed that Lucas is better behaved at the brewery when he is tired. He will usually just lay down on the cool floor and take a nap or watch the people as they come and pet him. When he has been able to expel any extra energy, he is also not coming into the brewery in a dominating mood.

Lucas surrounded by curious patrons at Denver Beer Co in Denver, CO

Questions

There were many days at the brewery with Lucas and he usually was the center of the room’s attention. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the breed to people you meet at the brewery. I would say you would typically have 5 questions that people would ask most:

  • What kind of mix is that? (Then I would tell them that he is a Sarplaninac)
  • Can you say that again? (Then proceed to say it a few times)
  • How much does he weigh?
  • How much does he eat?
  • What are they bred for?
  • How long do they live?

I originally considered printing a card with the most frequent questions, but then the idea of building a website came to me. (Here you are!)

Lucas sitting in the taproom of Broken Compass Brewing Co in Breckenridge, CO

As An Adult

As Lucas grew older and into an adult, his dominant nature began to show more, and I think his tolerance for other dogs began to wane. Being in a part-time working situation, he also began to view some dogs as threats if they had an appearance like a coyote or a wolf. His focus would then be very intense at the brewery, and create an uncomfortable situation for some of the other dogs.

Not all dogs are the same, and depending on their situation, they could be a brewery dog till the day they die! I think it’s important to know your dog and do your best to avoid putting them in situations where they are not set up to succeed. If you have a Sarplaninac, who is great with people and dogs, and loves public places even as an adult, definitely create those memories together if you can!

Lucas still goes to a lot of places with us, but we don’t visit dog parks with him due to his dominance as an adult male Sarplaninac. It’s the nature of the breed, but also due to his situation as a part-time working dog. These days, we tend to do more adventures in the backcountry and explore roads less traveled.

At camp with Lucas, sitting in the afternoon sun

Lucas is certainly at home when we are camping and enjoys being in nature, just as much as we do. We still visit breweries from time to time, but I will typically make sure there are not a ton of dogs, or we at least can find a little corner to control the interaction with other dogs.

Lucas inside the enchanting Plume Coffee Bar in Silver Plume, CO

Whether you have a large breed dog like the Sarplaninac, or a wonderful rescue mutt, a brewery is a great place to connect with friends, family, and furry friends alike. I recommend you start early with socialization if you plan to bring your Sarplaninac to breweries and set them up for success, so they have a good time & you can enjoy that cold one.


Summary:

Brewery dogs are in their own special category of “cool dog”. They are social butterflies and thrive when they are getting pets from people they meet at the local watering hole. If you plan to have a Sarplaninac as a brewery dog, you want to start them early with socialization and obedience, and consider tiring them out beforehand to ensure they are on their best behavior.

Lucas, the Sarplaninac, sitting proudly in the taproom of Broken Compass Brewing in Breckenridge, Colorado. Some of the tables are ski lifts in the background as a man walks past.