Golden retrievers help deliver beer during social distancing

Source: CNBC – Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

While many dog owners dream of training their dogs to fetch them beer, that’s just what golden retrievers Buddy, 3, and Barley, 1, are doing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mark and Karen Heuwetter, co-founders of Six Harbors Brewing Company in Huntington, a coastal town on Long Island, New York, were inspired to bring the dogs on beer deliveries to cheer up customers.

“People started seeing the dogs on the deliveries, and so we came up with the idea of having them [help] bring the beer to them,” Mark Heuwetter, co-founder of Six Harbors Brewing Company tells CNBC Make It.

As the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March, the brewery was deemed an “essential business,” so it was able to stay open for deliveries and curbside pick-up, which the owners had never done before.

Like many pups, the Brew Dogs love to go on car rides and stick their heads out the window. So rather than leave them at the brewery while making deliveries, Heuwetter decided to take them along.

The Heuwetters fashioned “little accents” that could hang on the dogs’ necks like a collar and carry four beer cans. (They used empties, because “we’re dog-loving people and we wouldn’t want to have them get hurt in any way or shake up the beer,” Heuwetter says.)

Like St. Bernard dogs with a barrel of whiskey around their necks, the Brew Dogs quickly became mascots.
On deliveries, the humans wearing masks and gloves carry the beer to the drop-off point, and then let the dogs greet the customers and snap some photos wearing their beer accessories.

The brewery would typically serve more than 600 pints a day on the weekend, but now the dogs and Heuwetters make about four to 12 deliveries in a day.

And while April and May are typically the biggest months of business for the brewery, sales are down 70% to 80% from April 2019 due to the pandemic, Heuwetter says. The brewery’s staff of 11 part-time employees have also been furloughed, with members of the Heuwetter family picking up shifts to help. (Heuwetter says he has applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan. At the moment, it’s not clear when the brewery will be able to officially reopen for business.)

So the dogs, who have more than 500 followers on Instagram, have been a bright spot.

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