TAMPA, Fla. - You could call it puppy prohibition. The Florida Department of Health is cracking down, banning man’s best friend from hanging out inside breweries.
The state recently reminded some of Florida’s breweries and brewpubs that pets are not allowed inside.
"It’s been really heartbreaking for us. We’ve had to tell regulars who have been bringing their dog into the tasting room for literally years that they’re no longer welcome anymore," said Neil Callaghan with Cigar City Brewing, one of Florida's best-known craft brewers.
Since many breweries don't serve food, it was believed a loophole allowed dogs in their tasting rooms. But according to Florida Administrative Code 64E-11, food is defined as, "any raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice, beverage or ingredient used or intended for use in whole, or in part, for human consumption."
Basically, by that definition, beer is considered food.
"Because we don't have a kitchen, we've always approached the dog policy that if we're not making food, we're not actually serving food, we shouldn’t have a problem," Callaghan said.
Dogs are no longer permitted inside the Tampa tasting room.
"We truly regret having to comply with this rule, we still love our furry friends," Cigar City Brewing posted to Facebook on Friday.
Beer and dog lovers are fighting back against the restrictions, and have started a petition asking local politicians to push the issue and allow man's best friends to hang out in the pub with their humans.
The petition on Change.org got 17,000 signatures in less than a week. Customers say being able to bring their pups to the bar is a huge perk, especially after having to leave them at home all day while they're at work.
Some folks, happy the rules are now being enforced, are also weighing in online. One man wrote: "Dogs are unsanitary and don't belong in a brewery."
Eleven states have passed laws allowing dogs at breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Here in the Sunshine State, dogs are still welcome on outside patios at breweries, and the code does not affect service animals or guide dogs.