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Beer for dogs lapped up

Brew enjoys a taste of his nutrient-rich, alcohol-free dog beer at the Moon Under Water Brewpub.  - Sharon Tiffin/News staff
Brew enjoys a taste of his nutrient-rich, alcohol-free dog beer at the Moon Under Water Brewpub.
— image credit: Sharon Tiffin/News staff

Breakfast was delicious, but now it's time to get to work.

I ride to the jobsite in the company bus, keeping a somewhat laissez-faire guard on the product in the back. We arrive and I suss out the place to see what's new.

Suddenly, a visitor appears who is unknown to me. No problem, I think, I'll give him a warm greeting regardless.

And what's this? I'm being offered a post-breakfast apéritif out of the cooler? I know it's still just 10:30 in the morning, but why not, I say, and down the tasty beer quickly.

Ah, the benefits of being a brewery dog …

n n n

Brew, the hulking, four-legged surrogate child of Chelsea Walker and Clay Potter, co-owners of Moon Under Water Brewpub, was guinea pig for their new non-alcoholic, hop- and carbonation-free "beer" for dogs.

"We were looking for something that the whole family could enjoy, to have a beer together after work," Walker says, the mirth evident in her voice.

Dog owners are increasingly being targeted by niche retailers in Greater Victoria. So for Walker and Potter, who serve a lot of "dog people" at their Bay Street brewpub, offering a complimentary product to their regular offerings made sense.

"We're a very pet-focused town already and a very craft beer-focused town. It's a good combination of the two," Walker said.

The process, brewmaster Potter said, starts early in the brewing process, during a pre-fermentation stage when the natural sugars are dissolved out of the grain. Ordinarily, a certain amount of liquid is removed and sent down the drain, with the remaining husks and spent grains collected to be given to local farmers as feed.

"It's a high-protein, high-fibre, low-sugar liquid," he said.

From there, it goes through another process in which glucosamine and salmon oil is added, and, depending upon which flavour is being brewed, chicken or beef flavouring. The couple spoke to experts at pet food stores for advice on healthy ingredients.

Walker admits the couple dotes on their dog, but she sees selling "dog beer" as a "marketer's dream." So far, they've sold out whatever they make quickly at $4 a bottle.

"We're recycling waste and it's a fun idea," she said.

The brewpub is teaming up with Cascadia Liquor Store in Uptown this Saturday (Nov. 2) from noon to 4 p.m. to officially launch its beef and barley dunkel and chicken and peanut pilsener brews for dogs.

Proceeds from sales of the products will be donated to Flirting with Fido (flirtingwithfido.com), a Victoria dog rescue program.

Walker and Potter support the cause. They rescued Brew, whose flop-eared image graces the label of the beef variety, from a harsher fate some years ago.

For more information on the dog beers, call 250-380-0706 or stop by 350B Bay St.

ddescoteau@vicnews.com

 

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