ST. LOUIS – Good question to ask at a brewery: Do you prefer an IPA or a lager?
Better question to ask at this brewery: Do you want to play fetch or tug o' war?
Of all of the important business that goes on at 4 Hands Brewing, the most fun part of the job for many of the employees is interacting with the four "brewery dogs" who often roam the office.
Winkley's dad is Mario Cassani, who's in brewery operations. Gracie belongs to head-brewer Andy Burgio. Owner Kevin Lemp often brings his golden retriever Griffey, and the newest member of the pack, Juno, goes home with brewer James Hellmuth.
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So, what does a brewery dog actually do? You can call it office support.
"It’s nice just to have a little bit of a breather and kind of calm down and chill out with the dogs," said Martin
None of the booze hounds are of legal drinking age—not even in dog years.
"They’re all pretty young so it’s kind of a rambunctious wrestling ring," said Burgio.
Their kisses and drool are a secret ingredient in 4 Hands brews – indirectly, of course.
"I feel like it just fits our personality," said Burgio. "We’re just the personality of the people around us and the city around us, and the dogs kind of fit that."
"I feel like the dogs are a part of everyone’s family here," said Martin Toft, who works in 4 Hands operations.
They all agree it's important to bring a "go bag" full of plenty of treats and toys to keep the dogs occupied, and a work day with their pets in tow often involves a lot of walk-breaks. They said it's worth it, though, because sometimes snuggles are just the kind of refreshment the staff here really needs.
"I think with everybody pitching in and loving them being around, it kind of works out," said Cassani.
DOGS WITH JOBS: