Good Beer Hunting

Fervent Few

Fervent Few — You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

It’s a debate that has raged on #BeerTwitter every few months for the last couple of years. Should children be allowed in taprooms? This week, we asked the Fervent Few what they think. Is it OK to enjoy some tasters with your children in tow, or should breweries be a child-free zone?


Johnny Swinehart: “I have had a few bad experiences with kids in taprooms, but the common thread has been inattentive parents ignoring the kids behaving poorly (throwing stuff, etc.). However, the majority of kids I see are well behaved. Personally, I wouldn’t bring a kid to a taproom, but I don’t think that should be applied to all.”

Zack Rothman: “I don’t have any children and I’ve never really had a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experience with children in a taproom. To me, they are just smaller people that are there with everyone else. They may get loud, as adults do as well. They may move around clumsily, as an adult might after some drinks. As long as their parents are responsible in making sure they don’t cause any trouble, I see no reason why their mere presence would bother me. I find it kind of nice to see kids in taprooms. It normalizes the place and makes it seem more welcoming overall.”

Bill Zimmer: “We generally want a taproom that’s family-friendly, but the challenges of unattended kids in a taproom with darts and a river right outside are obvious and a headache at times. To some degree it does get down to parenting as we have a group of teachers that come in regularly on Friday afternoon with their kids that is a joy.”

Threefrenchs: “This is a tough one. I have no problem with kids in a tasting room. As a parent, I would only feel comfortable bringing a kid to a tasting room where I knew the environment and not when there was going to be a packed house. I do think it’s the parents’ responsibility to keep control of their kid and make sure there was a sober parent to make sure everyone gets home safe. If I wanted a zero kid environment, I would just go to a bar.”

Daniel Lowe: “I’m a fairly new parent, with a 3-month-old and a 2.5-year-old, and this certainly impacted my views. We actively encourage families in our taproom, providing change facilities, seating, and things that are needed, and our staff work to accommodate and store strollers (prams!) off the main floor when not needed. We find that this contributes to the atmosphere and helps to create a balanced, accepting space, rather than allowing it to get too loud, too male-dominated, or any other social extreme which impacts how welcoming and relaxed it feels and we want it to feel. It’s our sense that this helps to increase dwell time for customers and enhance their sense of exploring our beer list vs trying to get around the Bermondsey Beer Mile with a 2/3 pint in each.”

Lana Svitankova: “I just don't like noisy and uncontrollable people throwing tantrums, no matter what age they are. That's my basic attitude. I don't have children myself, but I wouldn't bring a kid to a taproom in the evening when it's crowded and noisy and a kid tends to be more a runner, than a sitter. Calm afternoon on the open terrace, while most people are still too busy to drink—why not? The only problem with children in our taproom is that people who are not happy with children vent their anger on the staff. They consider that it's a barman/maid’s job to calm children. Why is that? I have no idea. Instead of asking parents to keep an eye or shush kids a bit, they complain and put derogatory reviews on the web.”

Caldwell Bishop: “I think it’s nice when breweries allow parents to bring their kids to taprooms. I’ve had friends visit that would otherwise have been unable to go brewery hopping with us. The issue, IMO, is when parents are irresponsible or treat the brewery like a daycare. It’s probably illegal, and definitely would get into dangerous territory of whose place is it to dictate what is and is not OK behavior, but it would be nice to see places able to charge irresponsible parents extra for their kid(s) misbehaving.”

Mike McCarty: “I have zero issues with seeing children in a taproom during the day. I would even go so far as to say that's the type of taproom I want to visit: one that can serve as a community space where all people can gather. That being said, after 6pm, it's time to take the kids home.”

Hank Hanna: “We are in an area where a lot of folks have kids. We have gone as far as to set up a few small kids picnic tables in our beer yard so that they can feel like they have their own place. What ends up happening is that several kids will sit down and start playing with each other, keep each other occupied, and give mom and/or dad a chance to breathe. Most of the folks who come to our brewery are very responsible and make sure their kids are behaving. Of course, there are those who don't, but it is the exception, not the rule. Making the place family-friendly not only keeps people hanging out longer, it makes them repeat customers and ambassadors for our taproom.”

Rob Scott: “I love going to taprooms with my kids—they’re old enough to buy the drinks. I’m happy to see younger kids, too. It tempers the testosterone and ups the inclusivity.”

Ian Davis: “Never experiencing poorly behaved kids in a brewery taproom, I was initially skeptical, borderline opposed to the idea of kids in a taproom. I was of the opinion that this was an area for adults to escape from the nuisances of everyday life and not that it was a community business. As the brewing community has grown here in sunny Akron, Ohio, I have begun to shift my ideological opposition. Part of what happened is I have noticed how much I dislike going to the conventional bar: the noise, the people, the general lack of midwestern hospitality that is present in most family-based business. The divide is also present in taprooms that are adults-only versus a community-friendly establishment. I firmly stand on the idea that family-based taprooms are great for the community, and anyone who chooses to patronize the establishments.”

Robbie Wendeborn: “I'm fine with kids, but parents shouldn't expect a wholesome environment. I've seen parents get upset at people cussing, smoking (tobacco or weed), canoodling, and generally acting like adults. You brought your kids to a bar, what do you expect? This is especially true at production breweries when all the packaging folks get off and there's a brewer shift change and there's a lot of gruff talk in the tasting room, to put it nicely.”

Quinn Thompson: “I'm generally OK with kids in a taproom as long as they're well-behaved and their parents are keeping a close eye on them and ensure they're being respectful of the space and other patrons. I think a little bit of common sense goes a long way in this setting. I also think parents waive their rights to be upset or offended if their kids are exposed to language they deem inappropriate for the kid's age. If the majority of the people in a taproom are adults enjoying a hard-earned beer or two, it's only natural the kids might experience some colorful language. Everyone has to accept that fact.”

Tyler Bello: “Kids and dogs absolutely. The environment is much more of a community space and a place I want to spend time when it’s welcoming to families. The customer service/vibe in places like this tends to be more friendly, too.”

Maia Kazaks: “My experiences working in a brewery taproom that specifically catered to families and in a growler fill/bar showed the variation in what is presumed common sense. I haven't seen a problem with the ultra-littles, stuck in their carseats next to parents or swaddled up. In fact, most parents seem to really like going out when their kid is sorta-trapped. But once the kids have walking ability, there are many variations of danger. It was a delight to see kids playing together at mini picnic tables or sand boxes to keep themselves occupied and giving their parents a bit of a break, but when parents give up on supervising, we've gotten some real terrible circumstances. In the bar setting, small humans are simply not expected and need to be kept close so they aren't knocked over and so stools don't get backed up into them. I haven't seen salty language become an issue, though, but sometimes the fresh innocence of a kid can spur the opening of important conversations with a future friend. ‘Why is that man wearing a dress, mommy?’”

Dave Riddile: “I say bring them. Beer is a consumable that has always accompanied familial gatherings, and the breweries that are the most welcoming and warm seem to promote that ideal as part of their aesthetic. Obviously, be responsible and understand the context of your environment, but overall enjoy your surroundings with the people, and beverage, you love most.”

Bob Preece: “Sadly, most pubs are becoming festering shitholes, and this year I have made a conscious decision to avoid. Still happily drinking, but taprooms, bottle shops, and microbars are getting my custom. I have no kids, all of the places I am drinking in attract families, and kids have been no issue at all. The family vibe is a great deterrent from a lot of the macho bullshit/bad behavior. Also, kids should absolutely be able to associate responsible consumption of alcohol by parents in a social setting and the vibe in the places I am drinking are conducive to that.”

John Conner: “Although I do not have kids, I generally do not mind kids in a taproom. Most taprooms and breweries have a different feel than traditional bars, and the atmosphere is more about socializing than getting drunk. I think having a generation of kids growing up seeing beer as something to be appreciated and enjoyed responsibility is a good thing for our society.”

Jake Rajewsky: “Kids play by the same rule as adults: Don't be an asshole and you're good.”

The Fervent Few seem like a pretty kid friendly bunch. But what about you? Are you ok with some well-behaved children in the tasting room, or would you rather a trip to a brewery be child-free? Join the Fervent Few and let us know!

Hosted by Jim Plachy