Relaxing with a cold beer is a favorite pastime for the majority of Americans. As happened during the Great Depression, consumption of alcohol is at an all-time high, and beer remains the favored drink of many. Have you ever wished you could share your beer with man’s best friend? Since alcohol is a more dangerous toxin for dogs than it is for people, sharing drinks with your pet is strongly discouraged. People who think it would be funny to see their dog drunk are often instead treated to massive veterinary bills or a dead dog. However, brewers have begun responding to the desire of Americans to share their love of beer with their pets. Not only are an increasing number of malt barley-based dog treats finding their way onto the market, but so is non-alcoholic and hops-free beer.
3 Busy Dogs, a Seattle-based business that is the brainchild of Jenny Brown, is the company producing Bowser Brew, a canine-compatible beer. Back in 2007, Brown was baking spicy pretzels at a farmer’s market for her human customers when she decided to add peanut butter pretzels for her doggy patrons. It was then that it occurred to Brown to tap into a previously overlooked niche market: beer for dogs. After all, it is a worldwide tradition to combine pretzels and beer, so why not provide doggy versions of both?
The very first Bowser Beer was a beefy concoction that won the taste-test provided by the three dogs Brown owned at the time – Golden Retriever, Chewy, West Highland Terrier, Casey and Rottweiler, Dax. Sadly, since that first non-alcoholic, hops-free beer-tasting day six years ago, two of the three original namesakes of 3 Busy Dogs, who were all elderly, have passed away. The new trio, including a Golden-Irish Retriever mix named Quigley and a terrier mix named Muggsy, only recently became a duo in the summer of 2013 with the death of Dax. It is clear that Brown’s dogs are her inspiration and her true loves, being that they are, after all, the source of her company’s name, product line and a very successful business venture.
In 2011, the dog-friendly drink received worldwide recognition through the World Records Academy (WRA). The WRA bills itself as the “leading international organization” for records and claims to have the biggest database of record-holders both on and off-line. Bowser Beer earned attention for being the very first beer for dogs, a wag-of-the-tail acknowledgment that seems to have come as a pleasant surprise to Brown. But perhaps she should not be surprised considering the simple fact that dog lovers everywhere are well known for their desire to share with their furry friends from table scraps to pizza bones to, now, beer. Apparently the occasional buyer expresses disappointment that the beer will not get their terriers tipsy or their Poodles plastered, but considering the inherent dangers of giving a dog alcohol, Brown’s insistence at keeping the brew non-alcoholic is commendable. She replaces the hops, which lend flavor to human beers but are quite toxic to dogs, with either beef in her original Bowser beer, or chicken in the secondary Cock-a-Doodle Brew.
Along with the two doggy brews there are Bowser Bits, which are the original, beer-inspiring peanut butter treats and liver treats, which come in tiny pieces. Glucosamine is even added to the drinks for an added healthy-joints boost. And for the dog lover that wants an extra-special touch, custom labels are available with not only a personalized photo of your dog and a selection of templates but even a unique name of your choosing. Beer-and-pretzel gift packs are also available and make great gifts for the holidays as well as for doggy birthdays.
3 Busy Dogs’ products are available in 42 states and are even being carried in Harrod’s in London, England. Safe to say Jenny Brown’s original cute idea has become a highly successful business. In her production-home state of Washington, there are nearly two dozen listed sales locations. Among those locations is 99 Bottles on Pacific Highway South in Federal Way, WA, where a large selection of brews can be found right next to the checkout. Not surprising given 99 Bottles’ impressive array of human beers, maybe, but always a surprise for those who first think the doggy-faced labels are for dog lovers when, in all actuality, they’re quite literally for the dogs. Patrons of the Belltown Pub in Seattle can also pick up a bottle for their pooches and all the way across the country in New York nearly half a dozen businesses carry it. Kudos and a high paw to Jenny Brown for her paw-some creation of dog-friendly brews and accompanying canine cookies that give dogs and their people a safe way to celebrate together this coming holiday season.
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