Believe it or not, one of the joys of writing this beer blog has been that it’s allowed me to spend special time with my son, Max. Ever since he turned 12, he’s probably been to more breweries than most kids his age. We’ve made road trips together to visit breweries in small towns, and made visits to plenty around the big city. He’s even gotten pretty good at snapping some damn fine photos around a brewery.
But, it made me think, while I’m fine bringing the kid with me, do all breweries, welcome kids? Granted, my kid is a teenager now, so those toddler tantrums are over, but I understand why children in breweries could annoy some beer lovers.
From what I’ve seen written, there are some pretty strong and passionate positions on this topic, frankly stronger than I was expecting. ”
- Parents, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up in Breweries (Or Bars)” is the headline in Forbes.
“Breweries Are Not A Playpen, Stop Bringing Your Kids” is the headline in Foodbeast.
On the flip side, there is just as much passionate writing in support of the idea, but in reality, it all boils down to what the breweries want, who they want to target as their customers and how they as a business will engage their customers on such an issue. So, with that in mind, I reached out to breweries across our area to find out, with no holds barred, where each stood on the topic.
What is your policy or philosophy on customers bringing kids to the brewery?
Kyle Jeffries of Mother’s Brewery
One thing people realize quickly when they get here is that while our tasting room may be a bar by law, it is not a bar bar. Sure, craft beer fans love a good time. But our vibe is relaxed and welcoming. No worry about lil’ Jimmy or Jenny seeing people taking body shots of tequila in our joint. If you believe, as we do, that responsibility with alcohol begins with a respect for alcohol, then our tasting room provides a great model for the responsible enjoyment of beer. Over one-quarter of our 25 employees are parents themselves, so providing a family-friendly environment is in our DNA.
Michael Crowell of Petrichor Brewing
My thought is that when you go into a brewery, it is foremost a bar, but a lot of people who like craft beer have families and they shouldn’t be shunned or unwelcome because of this. I think it is common for breweries to welcome families, but with the understanding that children should be supervised. This is not irregular for any establishment, but as a person who likes to go to breweries, I have seen larger places where children are left to run wild and this is not alright. At Petrichor Brewing, we will be family friendly. We have even gone as far as pondering a kids menu which is not the norm at most breweries.
Robb Abell of Ferguson Brewery
Kids are absolutely allowed inside the restaurant at Ferguson Brewery, and kids are more than welcome to check out what I’m doing through the observation windows at the pub, but strictly for safety reasons, that is as far as I can allow kids. Breweries are full of wet floors, sharp corners, and in some cases broken glass from bottling lines. The risk of a child slipping and getting hurt far outweighs the benefit of them being a little bit closer to the equipment that makes a product they won’t be able to consume for many years to come. in addition, the valves on fermentation tanks and serving tanks can be very sensitive, and if opened will cause major product loss for the brewery.
Tait Russell of Charleville Brewing
Yes, we allow kids in the brewery, my own kids are down at the brewery on regular bases. Breweries are run by family’s ( at least in our case) and are places for the community to feel welcomed, not excluded. We ask that the parents are of course responsible when they bring their kiddos down so everyone makes it home safe!
We are a family friendly environment. Especially with our large outdoor space. We have had no problems with children or dogs in the park.
We really wish parents would realize that a brewery’s taproom is not synonymous with playground. You’ve found it fine to bring your kid to the bar, but most other people in there aren’t interested in your kid’s questions, screaming or messes. If your kid is a hellion, maybe it would be best to grab a growler. We’ve had a few parents complain about our cat scratching their kid, to which we say, maybe you should watch your kid a little closer. Do we really have to explain to an angry parent that pulling a cats tail is probably a bad idea? Yes… Yes, we have.
Rebecca Schranz of Earthbound Beer
Kids are cool with us as long as their parents don’t act like children. Having a kid is a lot of responsibility, and even more so when around a bunch of adults using their leisure time drinking.
The general rule of thumb is don’t let them do anything we wouldn’t want a customer to do- if they are screaming, take them outside.
With regards to kids in a brewery, I can tell you our policy. it’s fine but after 8:00 pm we only let those over 21 in the door. If kids are here before then they can stay.
I think one of our customers said it best, we’re not “kid friendly but kid tolerant.” We do not have booster seats or a high chair but people are certainly welcome to bring their own.
We do not have a kids menu but can make things like grilled cheese or hot dog for children.
As a full-service restaurant, we welcome kids at all times, however, we ask that kids don’t sit at the bar after 6PM.
Typically, families sit in our main level rather than our upstairs taproom due to the bar level seating throughout the upstairs.
Generally, we rarely have any issues with kids in the brewery outside of the occasional kid swinging from our railings. Generally, we encourage families to come in as we work hard to be a community gathering place and one that fits every age group.
Tammy Rahn of Stubborn German Brewing
As far as kids in the brewery, as a German-themed brewery, we, of course, encourage families to come in and spend time together at the brewery. In Germany, it’s no big deal to see young people in a pub or sitting with their family in a biergarten. It’s a neat part of their culture that we want to replicate.
We have plenty of board games for kids and families and we always have Capri Suns stocked up and ready to give to kids with adult customers. We also have a couple high chairs in case families want to eat their take-out or home brought meal at the brewery, and we have changing tables in the restrooms as well.
Being a brewery, we attract a classy customer base who rarely gets over-intoxicated, so parents don’t really have to worry about kids seeing rude behavior from drunk people. We don’t have any rules regarding kids in our place, but we often see most responsible parents have their children gone from the brewery by around 8 or 9 PM, and of course, any children in our building should be well-behaved and supervised by a responsible adult so as to not disturb other patrons.
Lauren Pattan of Old Bakery Brewing
Just like going out to any other bar or restaurant, it is important for parents to do their research to make sure they are walking into an environment appropriate for their children.
Many breweries are exceptionally kid-friendly, and some are not. Doing your own research will make for a more pleasant experience for yourself, your children, and brewery staff and patrons.
We enthusiastically welcome families to come to The Old Bakery Beer Co., an attitude which is probably influenced by my getting pregnant immediately after we opened! We have changing tables, high chairs, kids menus, and plenty of room for kids to run around. However, those accommodations should not be expected at every brewery! Keep that in mind especially when traveling, as some state laws may ban kids from breweries that don’t serve food.